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Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee confirms reports he nixed trade to Angels

July 28, 2010 |  3:20 pm

Chicago Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee confirmed that he used his rights as a player with 10 years big league experience and five years with the same team to nix a trade to the Angels last week.

“It was very tempting,” Lee told reporters in Houston after the Cubs’ 8-1 loss to the Astros on Wednesday. “I didn’t just say no right away. A lot of thought goes into it.”

According to a major league source, Lee vetoed the proposed trade seven to 10 days ago. The Angels then turned their sights to Kansas City, acquiring Royals third baseman Alberto Callaspo for two minor league pitchers on July 22.

Lee, 34, called the process “agonizing” and said he spoke to several friends on the Angels before making the decision.

Though he is building a house in Southern California, Lee decided that “for me and my family, the best thing to do is to stay here,” he said. “That was the decision I made. Jim [Hendry, Cubs general manager] and I had good conversations about it. He’s been great about it.”

Lee, in the final year of a five-year, $65-million contract, has played through chronic neck and back problems this season, batting .249 with 11 home runs and 44 runs batted in. He is a lifetime .282 hitter with 304 homers and 983 RBIs.

The Angels have been searching for a bat to replace first baseman Kendry Morales, who suffered a season-ending leg injury in late May.

Lee, who has also been linked to the Texas Rangers, said he doesn’t expect to approve any deals because the opportunity with the Angels “probably was as good for me as anything could be.”

--Mike DiGiovanna