The Marlins got Carlos Lee from the Astros because he didn’t want to go to a contender in Los Angeles. Now they’re stuck with him because he didn’t want to join the Yankees, two sources told ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark.
Lee presumably would have been picked up by the Yankees in lieu of Casey McGehee, who was acquired from the Pirates for Chad Qualls just before the trade deadline. McGehee offers extra versatility by virtue of being able to play third base, whereas Lee would have given the Yankees a more consistent bat as a first base and DH option while they try to cover for their injuries.
It will be interesting to see if the Marlins just go ahead and release Lee at some point. The Astros are already on the hook for most of his salary, so there’s little financial incentive for keeping him. Of course, with Gaby Sanchez gone and Logan Morrison on the disabled list, the Marlins still have use for the warm body at the moment.
Lee has hit .271/.388/.343 with one homer and 12 RBI in 21 games since joining the Marlins last month. Overall, he’s at .284/.348/.396 with six homers and 41 RBI in 328 at-bats for the year.
Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.
Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.
Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.