DALLAS -- As anticipated, free-agent first baseman Derrek Lee rejected the Pirates' arbitration offer. The deadline for Lee to make a decision was midnight ET on Wednesday.
The Pirates had been anticipating such a decision, aware that Lee was likely going to let Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder sign before he did.
General manager Neal Huntington has said that the Pirates will continue to communicate with Lee if the interest is mutual. Lee, 36, is still viewed as an ideal candidate to step in as the Pirates' everyday first baseman in 2011. In 28 games, he hit .337 for the club after being traded over from Baltimore.
If the Pirates are unable to re-sign Lee, they will likely go with a platoon of Garrett Jones and Nick Evans or Jake Fox at first base in 2012. Also, the club would be in line to receive a compensation pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. That selection would come between the Draft's first and second rounds.