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Brewers may trade Carlos Lee at the deadline

The Brewers boast some of the best young talent in the National League, what with Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder about to play their first full season in the majors, J.J. Hardy aiming to improve in his second year after a strong second half, Bill Hall coming off his best season and Corey Hart and Dave Krynzel itching to break into the lineup.

Clearly, the future of this franchise is bright... which may convince the club they can afford to part with Carlos Lee instead of paying him market value to return when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2007.

From the Wisconsin State Journal:

The slugger is eligible for free agency after the 2006 season, and a consistent 30-homer, 100-RBI guy is likely to command a long-term deal in the neighborhood of $10 million to $12 million per year. That hardly fits the Brewers' financial neighborhood.

[Brewers GM Doug Melvin] said he'll begin discussions with Lee's representatives during spring training. But don't expect anything to happen.

Instead, mark your calendars for the end of July (the trading deadline) and August (the waiver deadline). If the Brewers find themselves in the playoff race, he will be in Milwaukee. If not ...

The Brewers finished last season 81-81, and if their young talent takes the next step, it's not out of the question they could be above .500 come the trading deadline. And the fact that Lee is in a contract drive is most definitely a good thing, but his potential presence on the trading block should at least raise a flag for owners in fantasy leagues that don't allow you to keep counting stats for players traded to the other league.

Brewers: On the defensive [Wisconsin State-Journal]