The Houston Astros haven't really had that much to brag about this season. The team has been bad. They've become a dumping ground for guys who could no longer cut it with the Phillies. But last week, by use of analysis, it was determined that the Houston Astros are best at one thing. Though, admittedly, that one thing isn't really something for which they should be too proud.
Respected baseball writer Joe Posnanski was asked his opinion on the worst everyday player in baseball last week. Two names were submitted to him: Chone Figgins of the Seattle Mariners and Ronny Cedeno of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
But after crunching the numbers and comparing the stats, Posnanski said it was neither of those two guys. The worst everyday player in baseball, according to Posnanski was Houston's own Carlos Lee
The worst everyday player in baseball had to compete for the worst in three categories: poor performance, indications that his performance will never improve and that the team is stuck with him, and all-around awfulness. So of course, there was no doubt that Lee was the winner.
And for those of you who think my opinion on Lee tends to the brutal, well, read this:
That's because I think the LVP leader in the clubhouse at the moment is pretty clearly: Carlos Lee. This wasn't too hard to predict (except, apparently, by the Houston Astros who gave Lee a six-year, $100 million contract before the 2007 season when he was turning 31).
It wasn't hard to predict because Lee was, at his best, a one-dimensional player. He was a terrible base runner -- he has scored minus-28, minus-15, minus-36 and, this year, minus-15 bases in his Houston years. He was a below average outfielder. He never did walk enough to sustain his on-base percentage. What Carlos Lee could do was swat 30 or so homers a year with good enough batting averages to put up 100-plus RBIs a year. Well, it's no secret that players like that do not age well.
So there you go, Astros fans. The Astros are number one at least one thing. They have the worst everyday player in baseball, and yes, they're stuck with him unless Drayton decides to eat the rest of that contract and let Lee become a fulltime rancher.
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This all seems to fit with a player who had it written into his contract that he could skip out on spring training so that he could go to the Houston Rodeo -- could anybody see Nolan Ryan or Jeff Bagwell doing something like that? This is a guy who couldn't make it back to the team in time after the All Star break because he was in Panama, and it was only as he was at the airport and on his private plane that he and his pilot discovered that the flight couldn't leave because the pilot's license had expired the day before, and then he neglected to call any of team management to let them know he wouldn't make it back on time.
At least Lee has his fans out at left field riding their stick horses -- they're still there, aren't they? I never see FSN Houston showing them anymore. And I suppose Drayton can still sell some Carlos Lee jerseys. But the guy's never going to live up to a contract he never should have received in the first place.
It would be easy to be angry with Carlos Lee about this. Easy, but worthless. Lee is what he's always been. He's never been anything but a designated hitter trying to play in the outfield. It's not his fault. The person who is at fault is Drayton McLane. It's McLane who didn't do his research. It's McLane who signed him to the huge contract and who celebrated things like Lee's skipping town for the rodeo.
So celebrate, Astros fans. It's not often the Astros are best at something. This time, the Astros are just the best at having worst. But it's a start, right?