The Dodgers and Astros have agreed to a trade that would send Carlos Lee to Los Angeles in exchange for pitching prospect Garrett Gould. But Lee has a no-trade clause and isn’t quite sure he wants to go.
The 36-year-old slugger told reporters after Saturday night’s 3-2 loss that he was planning to announce a decision at some point Sunday.
He had not made up his mind by the time he arrived at Wrigley Field for this afternoon’s series-finale with the Cubs.
Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle is on the case, from the north side of Chicago:
Lee is hitting .285/.337/.405 with five home runs and 29 RBI in 62 games this season for 32-46 Houston. The Dodgers are one game back of the Giants in the National League West and hurting badly for offense.
UPDATE, 11:56 AM: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says the Dodgers aren’t going to sweeten the pot, since they’ve already agreed to pick up whatever remains from Lee’s $18.5 million salary for 2012:
“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.
Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:
Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.
There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?
There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.
As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.