The Houston Astros inked slugger Carlos Lee to a six year, $100 million contract this past week. Lee will provide a much needed offensive threat to the middle of the Astros lineup which has struggled with the bat the last few seasons. Along with fellow Outfielder Lance Berkman, Houston will have a formidable one two threat for many years to come.
''El Caballo'' has been spectacular over the last five seasons as he has compiled a .288 average with 157 home runs and 522 runs batted in. Since beginning his career with the White Sox, Lee has played with the Brewers and most recently the Rangers. He has a cattle ranch not too far from Houston and from what I can observe this signing seems to be a perfect fit for both sides.
With the short fences in left and right field Lee will love hitting at Minute Maid Park. Over an 81 game span Lee has the potential to break several records at his new ballpark. The signing of Lee was very critical for the Astros this off season because they have struggled offensively for many years and now they have finally found the bat to compliment Lance Berkman. Their pitching has always been capable of keeping them in the game, but when it came playoff time the Houston hitters were non existent.
By giving Carlos Lee the largest contract in team history, general manager Tim Purpura is demonstrating that he is committed to taking the Astros to the next level and that he believes ''El Caballo is the man to lead them to their first ever World Series title.
Still, with many teams in their division improving Houston will need to do more in order to distinguish themselves as the class of the Nl Central. At the top of their list,they must convince
Roger Clemens to return for one more season and for his good friend Andy Pettitte to re-sign. If both things happen then you can look at the Astros as major contenders in the National League along with the New York Mets.
Houston did a great thing in going out and signing the second best hitter on the market and according to Lee Houston fans ''won't be disappointed. I see him as being gravy for the Astros for years to come.