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Carlos Lee Rejects Contract Offer...fate sealed

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Ken Rosenthal has the story:

All-Star left fielder Carlos Lee rejected a four-year, $48 million contract offer from the Brewers on Thursday, dramatically increasing the chances that he will be traded before Monday's non-waiver deadline, major-league sources tell FOXSports.com.

The Twins, Tigers, Angels, Rangers, Cardinals, Dodgers and Astros are among the clubs expected to show interest in Lee, who could emerge as a more popular option than Nationals left fielder Alfonso Soriano due to the Nationals' steep demands in trade discussions.

I'm a bit disappointed (though not surprised) that Melvin went this high.  $12m per year, especially with Ben Sheets already signed for $11m in '07 and '08, would've been a huge mistake for this team, especially when solid young options are available.

I hadn't heard much about the Rangers being interested, but they're an interesting possibility.  Texas has a slew of great pitching prospects (Eric Hurley, Thomas Diamond, John Danks, Edison Volquez), but most tempting, they have a young catcher, Gerald Laird, who they don't seem to want to use.  As you all know, that's my #1 criteria for a team trading for Carlos.  

Laird might not be as good as, say, Jeff Mathis, as he's already been on the Major League roster for a couple of years, so he'd go to arbitration that much sooner than Mathis.  On the other hand, Laird has proven he can hit Major League pitching, while Mathis is spending the year in Triple-A precisely because he couldn't convince Mike Scioscia he could do just that.

It'll be a fun four days, folks!

Update [2006-7-28 8:11:23 by Jeff]: For the last 24 hours worth of Carlos trade rumors, click here.