One possible Cubs trading chip is officially off the market, with Derrek Lee exercising his no-trade rights and telling the club he wants to remain in Chicago through the final two months of his contact, team officials said today.
While the Cubs would not get into details of the conversations and events leading to Lee's decision, major-league sources said the Cubs approached Lee only after the Los Angeles Angels proposed a trade for the former batting champion last week.
Despite the fact Lee is having a home built in Southern California and has friends playing for the Angels, he told the club he would block that trade and preferred to remain with the Cubs through this final year of his contract.
``I thought about it for a good 24 hours, really kind of agonized over it,'' Lee, 34, said. ``But I think the bottom line is family. And I like Chicago. I enjoy my teammates. So that's the decision we made.''
Lee, who has $4.9 million left on his contract, is hitting .248 with 11 homers this season.
Lee did not rule out the possibility of changing his mind if another team makes an offer, but he said he considers that unlikely because he doesn't believe another situation would be as appealing or tempting as the Angels.