Lee has no regrets about time in Houston
Carlos Lee, who was traded to the Marlins from the Astros on Wednesday, told MLB.com, in his first public comments since the trade, that he has no regrets about his time in Houston and was looking forward to helping the Marlins get back in the National League East race.
The Astros on Wednesday completed a deal to send Lee to the Marlins in exchange for Minor League third baseman Matt Dominguez and left-hander Rob Rasmussen. Dominguez will report to the Astros on Thursday in Pittsburgh; Rasmussen will report to Double-A Corpus Christi.
Lee wasn’t able to make a flight to Milwaukee on Wednesday night to meet his new team and will instead fly in the morning.
“I’m OK with everything. I have no regrets,” he said. “Houston is a great city and there’s a lot of good people there. I had a great time there, and from now on I wish them the best. Hopefully they get started again and rebuild for the future and have an opportunity to win again.”
Lee, who played in 815 games with the Astros and hit .286 with 133 home runs and 533 RBIs in 5 1/2 seasons, said he wasn’t surprised he was traded.
“I knew I was going to get traded at some point,” he said. “Like I told [general manager] Jeff, [Luhnow] I would do whatever is best for the team and for me at the same time. I think everything kind of work out perfect.”
The Astros nearly sent Lee to the Dodgers last weekend and were awaiting his approval on the deal before the Dodgers backed out. Lee has a limited no-trade clause, which means there are 14 teams to which his contract can’t be assigned. The Marlins were not on his list, so he couldn’t block the trade.
Lee said he couldn’t get his family on board with going to L.A.
“The Dodgers was more like a family issue,” he said. “Not everybody agreed to go there. The Dodgers is a great organization and they’re in first place. It was going to be good for me to go there, but I couldn’t get everybody to agree to it.”
Barely a year removed from reaching the World Series in 2005, the Astros signed Lee the day after Thanksgiving in 2006 to a six-year, $100-million contract with hopes he could get them over the hump. A veteran club that included Craig Biggio, Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman had a winning record only once – 86-75 in 2008 – after signing Lee and began to sudden show its age.
The Astros signaled they were rebuilding beginning in 2010 when they traded Oswalt and Berkman, two of the most accomplished players in franchise history, and last year moved up-and-coming outfielder Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn for more prospects.
Lee thinks the Astros are headed in the right direction.
“I think so,” he said. “We’ve got a great group of guys. We’ve got some guys with a lot of talent. You look at the young guys and they can play. They can put together a really good team for a long time.”
Lee believes he has plenty left in his game and believes hitting in the Marlins lineup will benefit him. Lee hasn’t hit a home run on the road this year.
“I can still do a lot of things in the game,” he said. “I’ve still got a lot of trust in myself. I’m going to step in there in their lineup and will get a lot more opportunities to hit with that type lineup. It’s kind of exciting.”
Lee certainly wasn’t the most popular player in Houston, and he realized that, though he didn’t understand. He said despite the perception by some fans that he didn’t always play hard, he gave it his all while with the Astros.
“I always did my best and have a lot of respect for the game,” he said. “I respect the game. This game has been very good to me and when you respect the game you have to do it right. I did nothing but my best there. I had great years there and since the first day I got there I went down a little bit, but one of my worst years was last year and I still drove in 94 runs. I have no complaints.
“I never took anything for granted. For me, regardless where I am and where I’m going to be, I’m going to take the game very seriously and play hard. I’m going to play hard and hopefully we’ll go in there and do what’s expected to from me.”
Dominguez, the Marlins 12th overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, is regarded as a standout defensive player who has had his struggles at the plate. In 78 games with Triple-A New Orleans, the 23-year-old batted .234 with seven home runs and 46 RBIs in 78 games.
Rasmussen, a 23-year-old lefty, was 4-7 with a 3.90 ERA in 16 starts at Class A Jupiter. He was recently promoted to Double-A, but didn’t make an appearance. The Marlins selected Rasmussen in the second round out of UCLA in 2010.