TORONTO, CANADA - : Derrek Lee #25 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a home run during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)

Derrek Lee Dealt To Pirates In Exchange For Aaron Baker

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Orioles Trade Derrek Lee To Pirates For Aaron Baker

We've told you that the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates have been deep in discussions centered around Derrek Lee. Now those discussions have culminated in a deal, the details of which we provide courtesy of Dan Connolly:

The will be getting Class A 1Bman Aaron Baker for Lee from Pirates. There also will be a minor amount of cash involved.

Here's what Derrek Lee isn't: a particularly good first baseman. He had a 104 OPS+ a year ago. He has a 97 OPS+  this season. He's nearly 36 and his skills are eroding.

But here's what Derrek Lee is: an apparent upgrade over Lyle Overbay, who's been worse. Overbay has been the Pirates' regular first baseman all season, but he's responded by posting an 81 OPS+, which obviously isn't acceptable. Here's the headline of a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article from Friday:

Pirates Notebook: Hurdle said time running out for Overbay

Yeah.

Aaron Baker? The Orioles get back a 23-year-old lefty first baseman with an .826 OPS in advanced-A ball. He's a power hitter who's trying to develop the rest of his game, and chances are he never will to the point at which he's a contributor in the majors, but you don't get big-time talent in return for an old Derrek Lee, and the fact that Baker simply has a chance is enough.

With Lee gone, look for the Orioles to bring up Chris Davis, who they acquired in Saturday's Koji Uehara trade. There's been talk about Davis taking over at third base, with Mark Reynolds shifting to first.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Derrek Lee Might Become A Pirate

Derrek Lee's earning $7.25 million this season.

The Baltimore Orioles are buried deeply within the American League East.

Derrek Lee has not hit much this season.

It's not surprising that the Orioles are looking to trade Lee. What's surprising is that there's some real interest.

But apparently there is. The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly is reporting that Lee will probably be traded to Pirates, who will send the Orioles a low-level prospect and get some help paying Lee's salary.

There is some reason for optimism about Lee. Just a year ago, he was struggling with the Cubs but turned his season around after being traded to the contending Braves. Maybe Lee just needs the little jolt of adrenaline that comes with playing for a team that's playing for something.

And as mediocre as Lee's been this season, he's been significantly better than Lyle Overbay, the Pirates' every-day first baseman this season.

To this point the Pirates have been completely inactive on the trade market. While their chances of winning a division title aren't good, they've got a decent shot at a winning season, their first in nearly 20 years. If that means trading a kid in the Florida State League who might help them in 2014, it's probably worth doing.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Derrek Lee Available To Highest Bidder

Every previous generation has its touchstone. Where were you on V-J Day, or when Kennedy was shot, or when you heard about the Challenger disaster? Now you can watch history unfold for yourself. From Mel Antonen:

#Orioles would likely take a mid-level prospect for hot-hitting 1B D. Lee. Then, move #Mark Reynolds to 1B in final two months.

Just a mid-level prospect? Not sure why they should settle. If they can get Domonic Brown for Lee, they should certainly think about it. In this scenario, Ryan Howard plays third and sets some interesting records.

Lee started the season miserably before going on the disabled list for an oblique tweak, and calling him "hot-hitting Derrek Lee" is a bit much -- he's hitting .247 with a .287 on-base percentage in July -- but he has shown a little power lately.

As a pretty good glove and lefty-masher off the bench, he could certainly help a couple of teams, but he's also due over $2 million for the remainder of the year, so the O's would have to eat a bunch of money to get even a mid-level prospect. Even then, that's a pretty unlikely return. We're probably in PTBNL territory here, and that player will probably feel pretty bad about himself when he's named later.

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