Since news of the Pirates' trade for Derrek Lee became official Saturday night, a lot of the focus on what the Pirates are getting out of the 35-year old has been on his numbers, good and bad. They're tangible and accessible for fans who don't get to see what players and media do in the clubhouse on a daily basis.
In a piece on the departures of Lee and relief pitcher Koji Uehara (traded to the Rangers) from Baltimore, however, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun offers a glimpse into the kind of guy Lee is with his teammates, and specifically how he mentored Orioles' centerfielder Adam Jones.
Center fielder Adam Jones was particularly close to Lee and said he — and Uehara — would be missed.
"I tried to learn a lot from [Lee] about being a man in this game. And he helped me a lot," Jones said. "Both of them, it kind of [stinks] they are not here anymore. But it’s a business, and I wish the best for them. But they are late in their careers, they are not getting younger and they need to win. Everybody in this game wants to win, and I realize this is the best opportunity for them."
If the Pirates are lucky, players will be saying that about Lee when he leaves Pittsburgh, too. These youthful Bucs don't have a lot of veterans, and certainly not veterans with experience playing in pennant races. He could mentor any number of guys on the team now and have a positive effect not only in 2011, but in the years to come. That could make this trade a good one whether his production helps push the Pirates over the top in the National League Central or not.