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Orioles trade international bonus slots for minor league LHP Chris Lee

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The Orioles traded a couple of 2014-15 international bonus slots that they probably weren't going to use to the Astros for minor league lefty Chris Lee.

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There are those critics of the Orioles who act like owner Peter Angelos is some kind of miser who will never spend money. Most of the time that's a load of nonsense, but there are times where the Orioles take actions that directly result in their avoiding spending some money and you can only scratch your head. They made another one of those moves on the off day on Monday, trading a couple of international bonus pool slots to Houston for a minor league lefty, Chris Lee.

The 22-year-old Lee was a fourth round pick by the Astros in the 2011 draft. In the five seasons since, he has not yet made his way higher than Low-A Quad Cities in the Houston organization. Lee pitched in 64 games, 48 of which were starts, and has a 4.17 ERA in those games. So again, you just kind of scratch your head and wonder, what?

MLB.com's beat writer for the Astros, Brian MacTaggart, reported that the Orioles traded two slots in the current (2014-2015) international signing period. Those slots were #46, with a value of $391,500, and #76, with a value of $264,300. That signing period will come to a close on July 1. The next signing period will begin on July 2.

For the most part, teams have already spent the money they are going to spend. Many teams who go big in this period do so within a couple weeks of its opening. The fact that the Orioles had these unused amounts in their pool probably means that they were not going to use it.

So in that sense, what they've done is trade something with no effective value to them for something that may have some value. It's worth a bit over $650,000, but that's not money that would have been spent anyway. The wisdom of regularly choosing to punt on these international signings is another subject for another day.

According to MASN's Roch Kubatko, the Orioles will assign Lee to Frederick - a higher level than he's ever reached - and work him out as a starter. They are said to think he has a good breaking ball. Well, okay, then. Good luck to Lee as he joins the Orioles system.