Cubs likely to let Derrek Lee hit the open market

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Derrek Lee is entering the final season of a five-year, $65 million contract and has made it clear that he’d like to remain with the Cubs, but Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that “there will be no negotiations this spring and probably not any during the season.”
Here’s what Lee had to say about the situation:

Am I worried about it? No. My only concern is winning baseball games. Contracts, they’ll take care of themselves. My numbers are going to dictate what kind of contract I get next year. So I figure if I just worry about playing baseball and helping my team win, all that other stuff takes care of itself.

Immediately after signing his current five-year contract Lee missed two-thirds of the 2006 season with an injury, but he’s played 446 of a possible 486 games since then while hitting .304/.384/.515 with 77 homers, 120 doubles, and 283 RBIs to go along with good defense at first base.
In fact, aside from that 2006 season Lee’s all-around value has consistently made him a top-10 first baseman for the past decade, including an MVP-caliber 2005 campaign that saw him lead the league in batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS. In other words he’s been really good.
However, he’ll also turn 35 years old this season and that fact alone makes it very risky for the Cubs to hand him a multi-year contract, particularly with an entire season left on his current deal.

Report: Guardians, 1B Josh Bell reach 2-year, $33M deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — The Cleveland Guardians and slugging first baseman Josh Bell have agreed to a two-year, $33 million contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a review of medical records.

Bell played for Washington and San Diego last season, batting .266 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs in 156 games.

Cleveland is coming off a surprising 2022 season, going 92-70 and winning the AL Central for the first time since 2018. The addition of Bell gives the Guardians more power for their lineup after they hit just 127 homers this year – the second-lowest total in the majors.

The 30-year-old Bell is a .262 hitter with 130 homers and 468 RBIs over seven seasons with three big league teams. He had his best year with Pittsburgh in 2019, making the NL All-Star team while batting .277 with 37 homers and 116 RBIs in 143 games.

The switch-hitting Bell also is expected to benefit from restrictions on defensive positioning coming to the game next year.