Unable to sign Lee, Brewers deal slugger to Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Wanting the big bat now and hoping to
keep him longer, the Texas Rangers acquired All-Star slugger Carlos
Lee from the Milwaukee Brewers in a six-player deal Friday.

Milwaukee traded Lee after it became apparent that the
outfielder wasn't interested in staying there after this season
when he can become a free agent.

"Carlos is an impact bat that we need right now," Rangers
general manager Jon Daniels said. "He's a middle-of-the-order
hitter, a run producer, big makeup, leader, just entering his
prime. We feel strongly he can be a big piece for us as we make a
run at the pennant."

The Brewers got reliever Francisco Cordero and outfielders Kevin
Mench and Laynce Nix, and minor league left-hander Julian Cordero --
no relation to Francisco. Minor league outfielder Nelson Cruz also
went to the Rangers and was added to their major league roster.

Lee arrived about 35 minutes before Friday night's game against Kansas City and started, batting fourth as the designated hitter behind Michael Young and Mark Teixeira. Manager Buck Showalter plans to use Lee primarily as an outfielder.

It was the first major deal completed in the days leading up to
Monday's non-waiver trade deadline. Because of his potential to
become a free agent, Lee was considered one of the biggest trade

Brewers GM Doug Melvin started entertaining offers after Lee and
his agent, Adam Katz, on Thursday turned down a four-year extension
reportedly worth $48 million.

"Because they never countered to us and said there was a large
gap, we don't know what it was they were looking for," Melvin
said. "It was probably the years, because the dollars we offered
were very significant to any deal we've ever offered before."

Melvin said he talked to six teams about Lee but settled on the
Rangers because of the "major-league-ready" players involved and
his familiarity with them. Melvin acquired Mench, Nix and Francisco
Cordero in Texas when he was the GM there.

Lee hit .286 with 28 home runs and 81 RBI in 102 games for
Milwaukee, already his fifth straight season with at least 25
homers. Lee is a .284 career hitter over eight seasons with the
Chicago White Sox (1999-2004) and Milwaukee (2005-06).

Before Lee's addition, Brad Wilkerson led the Rangers with 15
homers, one more than Teixeira, and Young had a team-high 67 RBI.

"It was a little shocking," said Young, a three-time All-Star.
"It's really the first time since I've been here ... the first
[deal] that opens your eyes and says this team is changing

After completing the trade, Daniels told Lee and Katz of the
team's desire for a deal past this season.

"I hope he comes in here and is comfortable, and we're
comfortable with him. We'll explore a contract down the line,"
Daniels said. "We don't want to get ahead of ourselves right now.
We've got games to win."

Texas went into Friday's game against Kansas City in third place
in the AL West, but only two games behind division-leading Oakland.
The Rangers haven't been to the playoffs since 1999.

The Rangers recalled right-hander Josh Rupe from Triple-A
Oklahoma on Friday, to solidify the bullpen after Cordero's
departure. Rupe was 1-1 with a 5.59 ERA in 18 minor league

Outfielder Freddy Guzman was optioned to Oklahoma. He has
appeared in eight games in two stints with Texas.

Francisco Cordero, an All-Star two years ago when he set a team
record with 49 saves, was the Texas closer until he set a major
league record with five blown saves in April. Akinori Otsuka took
over that role. In his last appearance for Texas, Cordero allowed
four runs in the eighth inning against the New York Yankees on
Wednesday night. The right-hander was 7-4 with six saves and a 4.81
ERA in 49 appearances.

Brewers manager Ned Yost said Cordero gives him a choice late in
games. Embattled closer Derrick Turnbow, an All-Star this year, is
0-4 and allowed 14 earned runs over 4 2/3 innings (26.98 ERA) his
last nine appearances.

"Production will decide who closes ball games," Yost said.

Mench hit .284 with 12 home runs and 50 RBI in 87 games, going
16-for-36 (.444) his last 10 games in Texas. Earlier this season,
Mench set a club record with home runs in seven straight games, one
short of the major league record but the most by a right-handed

Nix, who has played 240 major league games for Texas over the
past four seasons, has been in the minor leagues since batting .094
(3-for-32) in nine games in April.

Trading Lee made sense for the budget-conscious Brewers because
they have several highly regarded young outfield prospects --
although Cruz was considered the most promising.

Cruz was the Brewers' minor league player of the year last
season. He hit .302 with 22 doubles, 20 home runs, 73 RBI and 17
stolen bases in 104 games at Triple-A Nashville this year.
Showalter said Cruz would start in right field Saturday night.

The Brewers entered play Friday six games out of the National
League wild card, with five teams ahead of them in the standings.