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Cubs Trade Derrek Lee, 2005 Gets That Much Longer Ago

So the Cubs have traded Derrek Lee to the Atlanta Braves for a package of prospects that's pretty good for a first baseman with a .750 OPS but pretty middling for The Derrek Lee, face of the Cubs for the last few NL Central races in which they've participated. 

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It just reminds me that 2005—well, it was five years ago! Back then my pleasure at finally seeing Albert Pujols win the MVP was dulled, but only a little, by knowing that Derrek Lee had led the league in OPS, slugging almost 60 points higher than our own conquering hero first baseman. This was complicated by Derrek Lee's bizarrely sterling defensive reputation, which has never been corroborated by any statistic. He was the best hitter! He was the best fielder! How could our own Albert Pujols, who'd had to wait forever behind the Barry Bond Terminator for his turn in the limelight, have been more valuable?

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I'm writing this for posterity as much as anything else, because in the current sabermetric environment that MVP looks safer in his trophy cabinet; since then Pujols's defensive reputation has finally caught up to his astounding reflexes and quickness around the bag. That year, according to Baseball Reference's Total Zone defensive statistic, Pujols was worth nine runs to Lee's -4. 

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