Houston’s Carlos Lee: How Can Such a Good Career Have Had Such Rotten Luck?
Timing is everything. Take a look at the contract of Carlos Lee. He signed a 6 year, $100 million dollar contract with the Houston Astros before the 2007 season. During the 2006 season, he had been traded from Milwaukee to Texas in an attempt by the Rangers to make the playoffs. In signing the deal with Houston, Lee was going to a team that finished second in 2006 and made the playoffs the prior two seasons, advancing to the World Series in 2005. I understand the Astros offered him an outrageous amount of money but how would he know his new team would begin to decline before bottoming out last season with 106 losses?
Actually, the move to Houston wasn’t the first time Lee was a victim of rotten timing. He was a member of the White Sox for six years until being traded to the Brewers after the 2004 season. Wouldn’t you know it but Chicago ended up winning the World Series in 2005. So let’s have a quick recap. Lee comes up to the Majors in 1999 with the White Sox. He gets a very brief taste of the postseason with the 2000 Central Division winning White Sox. He gets traded to Milwaukee the winter before Chicago wins their first title in 88 years. He then moves on to Texas in mid-2006 before signing his big deal with the Astros. In 2008, one old team, the Brewers, made the playoffs for the first time in 26 years while the second former team, the Rangers go to back-to-back World Series in 2010 and 2011. And he missed out by a season the most successful three-year run in Astros history. It’s hard to feel sorry for a guy who has made over $110 million dollars in his career but Carlos Lee sure does make me try.
In the midst of all this rotten luck is the fact El Caballo has had one heck of a career. He has hit 30 or more home runs in a season six times to go along with seven seasons of 100 or more RBI’s. In 13 plus seasons, his career numbers read 352 homers, 1,304 runs knocked in and a .287 batting average. He has also been proven to be durable, playing in 160 games or more five times. It is a shame that he has played his entire career without the proper recognition it deserves. He most likely will not be back in Houston next season, just as the Astros have begun to claw back to respectability. I would like to see a contending team take a chance on the big guy so he can remember what it is like to be in a real playoff hunt.
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