According to David Kaplan  of, the Cubs are close to completing a trade that will send first baseman Derrek Lee to the Atlanta Braves in what is being described as a “salary dump.”

That would imply that the Cubs would receive only salary relief, and not players, in return for Lee, who would have to approve the trade.

Sources close to Kaplan say that unlike the proposed trade to the Angels which Lee declined, he would be open to going to Atlanta. It would give Lee a chance to participate in a pennant race and get away from the putrid stench of the Cubs’ season.

Lee is eligible to declare free agency following this season and is not likely to return given his age, lack of production and the Cubs’ payroll woes.

The Cubs would be saving the $3.4 million they owe on his remaining contract while the Braves would be obtaining a player who has started to hit for some power recently. Lee left the game the other day with back stiffness after hitting home runs in his first two at-bats.

This deal would be surprising because the Braves are said to be looking at third basemen to replace Chipper Jones, who is out for the season. In fact, a rumor yesterday was squashed that would have sent Aramis Ramirez to Atlanta.

The Braves already have Troy Glaus to play first base, but perhaps they are looking at Lee’s defense and playoff experience as a positive factor.

If D-Lee leaves the Cubs, it wouldn’t be a surprise, though the Braves seem like an odd match.

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