07/05/12 1:59 PM ET
Lee batting third in debut with Marlins
Slugger happy to be with Miami, hopes to make an impact
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
When it came to Miami, the 36-year-old first baseman welcomed the move with open arms.
The Marlins acquired the veteran first baseman on Wednesday from the Astros for prospects Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen. Lee arrived in Milwaukee in time to make his Miami debut on Thursday against the Brewers, batting third in the lineup.
Recently, Lee exercised his no-trade clause to block a potential deal with the Dodgers. The native of Panama, who has ranches in his home country and Texas, turned that deal down because the situation wasn't right for him.
"It was more a family thing," Lee said. "Basically, I couldn't get everybody to agree to it. It is kind of hard to get away from the family. My wife just got here for the summer. ... Even the kids were complaining."
Lee didn't have the Marlins on his limited no-trade clause, so he had no say in being dealt to Miami. However, he made it clear that he was happy with the trade.
"There was a reason I didn't block Miami," he said. "It was one of the teams I wanted to play for. Thinking about me and thinking about the family at the same time, and what was best for my career, I thought Miami was a good choice. I saw rumors. It's all talk. It happened and I'm happy to be here now."
The Marlins are glad to add Lee to a lineup that's underperformed for much of the season.
With the Astos this season, Lee batted .287 with five home runs and 29 RBIs. In his five-plus seasons with Houston, he hit .286 with 133 home runs and 533 RBIs.
"We wanted to help our club," Marlins general manager Michael Hill said on Thursday morning. "That's what our jobs are, to do what we can. We've watched our team now for almost four months. We've watched them play, and our offense hasn't performed to the level that we expected it to perform. So we needed to help it."
To make roster space for Lee, first baseman Gaby Sanchez was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans after Wednesday's 7-6 win.
For months, Lee saw the rumors, but he didn't pay much attention.
"I'm a very easy-going guy," Lee said. "I take it one day at a time. Yesterday, I was with the Houston Astros; today, I'm a Miami Marlin."
On his ranches, Lee raises quarter horses for rodeos.
"I kind of grew up into that," he said. "Baseball made it possible to invest money into that. It kind of made a dream come true. I have a good ranch. I have some horses. I enjoy that."
Lee feels he can make an impact with his new club.
"Everybody says this is a nice clubhouse and they have fun playing, let's have fun," he said.
The Marlins entered Thursday at 39-42, nine games in back of the Nationals in the National League East. With half a season to go, Lee looks to make an impact with his new club.
"They've got a good team," Lee said. "I've been following. They've been through some tough stretches. Hopefully, I'm here to help them get over the hump."
To get Lee, the Marlins parted with two former high Draft picks. Dominguez was a first-round choice in 2007. But the third baseman is blocked because the Marlins have Hanley Ramirez.
Parting with Rasmussen was difficult because the second-round pick in 2010 is a left-handed pitcher.
"You never want to give up pitching, let alone left-handed pitching," Hill said. "But understanding what was at stake, and you have to give to get, we made ourselves comfortable ultimately with it, and you make the deal."