"We are pleased to add a quality veteran player like Derrek Lee to our ballclub," said Pirates GM Neal Huntington. "He is an experienced, productive right-handed hitter and solid defender who should add to our team on the field and in the clubhouse."
Now in his 15th big league season, Lee has compiled a .281 batting average, 430 doubles, 29 triples, 324 home runs and 1060 RBI in 1914 career games. He made his Major League debut with the San Diego Padres in 1997 and has also seen big league action with the Marlins (1998-2003), Cubs (2004- 2010) and Braves (2010). A two-time National League All-Star (2005 and 2007), Lee also captured three Gold Glove Awards (2003, 2005, 2007) during his time in the N.L.
The Pirates examined Lee's medical records before closing the deal. In November, Lee had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. He went on the 15-day disabled list in mid-May with a strained oblique.
Lee did not play in the second game of a doubleheader last night against the New York Yankees. The Orioles officially announced the trade shortly before midnight.
"I've kind of known it's been coming the last couple days, so it's not a shock or anything. It's just the business of baseball," Lee said in the Baltimore clubhouse minutes before the deal was announced.
The trade could spell the end of Lyle Overbay's tenure at first base.
Overbay, who signed a one-year, $5-million contract last winter as a free agent, has been a disappointment offensively and defensively.
After grounding out last night as a pinch-hitter, Overbay is batting .227 with seven homers, 35 RBI and a .301 on-base percentage. He has just 18 hits in his past 83 at-bats, a .217 average in July.
Pittsburgh slipping in the National League Central is desperately searching for a spark offensively.
"They are playing good. They turned it around, so good for them. I'm still playing baseball, so that's always a good thing," Lee said. "It would be exciting if we won the World Series."
The 23-year-old Baker hit .282 (109-for-386) with 21 doubles, 15 home runs and 73 RBI in 103 games with Class-A Bradenton this season. The left-handed hitter was Pittsburgh's 11th-round selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Pirates have transferred catcher Ryan Doumit to the 60-day disabled list (was eligible to come off the D.L. on July 29).
The Pirates will make a corresponding move to their active roster once Lee officially reports.
Unless the Pirates find a team willing to take Overbay in a trade, he could be released before today's game against the Phillies.