Derrek Lee batting cleanup and facing Cubs in Braves debut

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Derrek Lee will make his Braves debut later this afternoon at Wrigley Field against his former Cubs teammates. He’s also batting cleanup, which is somewhat unexpected for a guy with a .416 slugging percentage.
Of course, Lee hit .304/.358/.528 with six homers and 10 doubles in the 30 games preceding his trade to Atlanta and has a long track record of similarly strong production. However, he batted fourth just 90 times over seven seasons in Chicago, hitting cleanup in only 9.9 percent of his Cubs starts.
Brian McCann has been the Braves’ primary cleanup hitter this season, started there 77 times in 121 games, but the man Lee is replacing at first base, Troy Glaus, also hit cleanup 35 times before losing his job and landing on the DL. McCann is hitting behind Lee in the fifth spot today.

The Rays announce “The Rays Tank.” Really.

Tampa Bay Rays
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Earlier this offseason the Rays traded away franchise player Evan Longoria. Over the weekend they traded starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment. These were clearly financially driven moves, and now the Rays sport a payroll of less than $70 million. The club’s offseason moves prompted Longoria to say that he feels sorry for Rays fans.

If you asked Rays brass, I’m sure they’d make strong statements defending all of these moves while offering evidence-light arguments that, yes, they truly are interested in fielding a competitive team in 2018. They would likely react VERY angrily to any suggestion that they are tanking this year. Teams never admit that they’re tanking.

In other news, the Rays announced a new blog:

Oh.