And so, Carlos Lee has ultimately rejected a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers (or he took so long that the Dodgers called it off), one of the most storied franchises in the history of the game, who are currently sitting one game out of the NL West lead, but who - thanks to the new playoff scenarios - would currently make the playoffs. His reasons are his own, but here are some things we can take away from it:
1. Carlos Lee had every right to decline this trade. It was within the boundary of the contract he signed before the 2007 season. Might this be the first time that we rip a player for staying with the Astros? Because...
2. Lee's desire to compete can now officially be called into question. He did not want to join a pennant race for all of three months. As we pointed out on Twitter, Carlos Lee has made over $111m in his career, and has what is apparently a successful cattle ranch in south Texas. To Carlos Lee, that is enough. He has his money, his family is financially secure, and one final chance at October doesn't blow up his skirt.
Lee has 8,433 career plate appearances, and 12 post-season plate appearances (in 2000, he went 1x11 with a double and a sac fly for the White Sox in the ALDS), and he isn't interested in seeing if he can get a ring. I say "one final chance at October" because...
3. If I was any GM, anywhere, I would now think twice about trading for Carlos Lee, much less giving him a contract for the 2013 season. If Lee didn't want to play for a competing team, I wouldn't want him anywhere near my clubhouse.
4. Still, Jeff Luhnow won. He got a team willing to part with something warm for Carlos Lee. It doesn't matter (for me, anyway) if Lee goes anywhere for the rest of 2012 - we only have to watch him jog out grounders or infield pop-ups for another 80 games, or so. But with the news coming out that there was at least a deal in place, he made us further believers in the new regime. And if news of the deal was leaked by Luhnow, that's a genius move right there.
See, Ed Wade may have been trying his little pants off to move Lee, but was so tight-lipped about it that we never got to see or hear anything about the behind-the-scenes moves. And perhaps that's the best way to go about it. But what the fanbase needs right now is to know that the front office is at least trying to make moves to send the team forward. It didn't actually happen this weekend, but it's further evidence that Luhnow is the right man for the job.