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Derrek Lee - Hee Seop Choi trade III

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Hee Seop Choi 2004 splits from ESPN.com's Hee Seop Choi page
April 61 14 18 0 0 9 18 12 1 17 1 0 0.295 0.419 0.738 1.157
May 77 12 17 6 1 2 9 13 2 27 0 0 0.221 0.344 0.403 0.747
June 72 12 21 7 0 2 6 13 0 16 0 0 0.292 0.395 0.472 0.867
Pre All-Star 240 42 66 13 1 14 35 45 3 67 1 0 0.275 0.393 0.513 0.906


Derrek Lee 2004 splits from ESPN.com's Derrek Lee Page
April 73 11 17 7 0 2 11 10 2 21 2 1 0.233 0.333 0.411 0.744
May 102 13 28 5 1 3 16 10 2 20 0 1 0.275 0.351 0.431 0.782
June 104 14 40 15 0 5 19 11 1 20 4 2 0.385 0.444 0.673 1.117
Pre All-Star 316 42 96 29 1 12 49 33 5 68 6 4 0.304 0.375 0.516 0.891


If you knew me when the Derrek Lee - Hee Seop Choi trade went down, (before I started this Cubdom thing), you would have heard me complaining about how much I liked Hee Seop and how I thought this was another Rafael Palmeiro trade, where the Cubs were giving up a potential All-Star for years to come in return for an opportunity to win now. At the time, I was resigned to knowing with my head that the trade was necessary to win this year, but disappointed because Hee Seop was a Cubs farm product, and I wanted to see him stay.

In fact, I still feel this way about the trade. Please don't get me wrong, looking at the numbers now, I still would have made this trade, but it doesn't make the pain subside.

At the end of April and May I wrote a post comparing D. Lee's performance with his trade-brother Hee Seop Choi.When we last left the D. Lee / Hee Seop analysis, I had this to say... going to the way, way, way, back machine.

D. Lee's average is a bit higher than we would expect, but we should see the average climb between 30 and 50 points over the next couple of months. Also, the slugging percentage is higher than would be expected, but we can expect some extra thump for the next two months. Finally, the OBP should climp by about 40 points in the next couple of months. May 31st

I noted last week that Lee's swing was looking better, and maybe its starting to pay off (although I ought to mention there was a 1-20 stretch in the last week)...

The two firstbasemen are pretty well matched offensively. Choi has slightly better offensive numbers, but Lee's stellar defense more than makes up the difference. After two months, the biggest difference between the two players is that Choi earns $310,000 while Lee is paid $6,166,667. Still, I am witholding a preliminary judgment on who "won" the trade, (although through two months, the Marlins clearly have comparable value and a fatter wallet). May 30th

Which brings us to the here and now. At the ASB, our two heroic first basemen are pretty well matched on the percentages. D. Lee has a sizable advantage in batting average, and a marginal lead in SLG. Hee Seop has a decent sized lead in OBP and OPS. However, the major difference is that Lee has been more durable, and has had more opportunities. Lee has nearly 60 more plate appearances than Hee Seop and has hit twice as many doubles, leading to a significant lead in RBI's (49 vs. 35). However, the two are tied in Runs scored, which kind of indicates that Lee is the last consistent hitter in the Cubs' attack while Hee Seop is being moved across the plate by his teammates.

Despite being pretty equal in the mid-year numbers, Derrek Lee caught fire again in June, as his reputation indicated.

  • D. Lee - June: .385 AVG/.444 OBP/.673 SLG/ 1.117 OPS/ 5 HR/ 19 RBI
  • Hee Seop Choi - June: .275 AVG/.395 OBP/.472 SLG/ .867 OPS/ 2 HR/ 6 RBI

Indeed, the annual Hee Seop Choi, post april slump has set in. The Cubs look to have achieved what they wanted when they traded for Lee. They have a more consistent bat heading into the Summer months, and the glovework between the two isn't even comparable. Derrek has clearly been superior to Choi since June 1, and frankly his numbers on the year are better than Hee Seop's as well.

The Salary difference however might come back to bite the Cubs later on, as we could sure use the spare $5 million this winter. On the other hand, if the Cubs are to win a World Series this year, Lee's added performance over Hee Seop will be one of the major components.

This post is in no way declaring one team "a winner" of the trade, and another team "the loser." In fact, both players are pretty young and their careers and length of stay with their team will have a bigger impact in deciding who won, than the June 2004 statistics. However, both sides will tell you that they got exactly what they bargained for... and thats a relief.

The Second Half Starts Tonight and all I have to say is GO CUBBIES!

Posted by Byron at July 15, 2004 5:18 PM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
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