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Derrek Lee gets PAID


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Derrek Lee has agreed to a new five-year, $65 million deal with the Chicago Cubs, ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney reported Monday.


The deal, which includes a complete no-trade clause, is expected to be announced at a Tuesday morning press conference in the Wrigley Field Interview Room.


The Cubs threw out the last remaining year of Lee's contract, which was worth $9.42 million for 2006, meaning the new deal will take effect this season.


Lee, last season's National League batting champion, hit 46 home runs and had 107 RBI in 158 games for the Cubs last season.


The first baseman also stole 15 bases in 18 attempts and scored 120 runs.


he certainly deserves it

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CHICAGO (AP) -- Derrek Lee is staying put. The NL batting champion's lucrative new contract is a reward for his breakout season and a deal he helped negotiate.


"I don't think you ever envision a contract like this," Lee said Tuesday at a news conference where the Cubs made official his five-year, $65 million deal.


"You are just kind of playing the game. You see guys signing these contracts, but you don't really see yourself signing that contract. It's a great day for myself and my family, so it feels good."


Lee could have played a final season with the Cubs and tested the free agent market. He's comfortable where he is and won't mind if he's the new face and leader of a team that has gone nearly a century without a World Series winner.


"I like it here. Also, I want the challenge of trying to win here. I want to be on that team that wins the world championship here in Chicago and sees the city go crazy," Lee said.


The Cubs haven't been in the World Series since 1945 and haven't won since 1908.


Lee hit .335 with 46 homers and 107 RBIs last year while winning a Gold Glove at first base. He joined the Cubs before the 2004 season in a trade from Florida, one year after helping the Marlins beat Chicago in the NL championship series and then win the World Series.


"He's a special player," general manager Jim Hendry said.


Hendry said when the Cubs traded for Lee they figured his best days were still ahead.


"We're not going to sit here and tell you we were so smart that we'd be predicting batting titles and high level MVP votes before the end of his first contract," Hendry said.


"But we thought we had a human being and an athlete that was capable off taking off and obviously he did."


Lee and Hendry had conversations late in the negotiations, ones that Lee said helped smooth things out and pave the way for a deal. Late last week, Lee said he wanted to have the contract done by Saturday or wait until the season was over. He softened that stance and the two sides finally reached an agreement.


"I think most players are involved in the negotiations, to some extent. Jim and I have a pretty good relationship where we can talk," Lee said.


"I think that helped things. We talked a couple of times here at the end. He knew where I was coming from and I knew where he was coming from."


Lee was to make $8 million in salary the final season of a $22.5 million, three-year deal, but the Cubs tore that final year up. His new contract calls for a $13 million annual salary from 2006-10 and contains a no-trade clause.


"You kind of look at the market and see where players comparable to you are. And you find a number you think is fair for you," Lee said.


"I told my agent this number pretty much from the very beginning. I said it's as simple as that, we get here and I sign the deal. It's a simple as that."


Hendry got a two-year extension himself last Saturday. Now with Lee's situation resolved, next up could be manager Dusty Baker, who is in the final season of a four-year contract.

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