The Dodgers instead sent their second-best pitching prospect, Allan Webster, to the Sox. On Monday, Lee again showed why the organization has faith in him.
MLB.com's No. 34 prospect allowed just a run on three hits over six innings to help Double-A Chattanooga defeat Jackson, 6-1.
It was the 20-year-old right-hander's third-straight start having allowed one earned run and his fourth in his last five in which he has surrendered one run or fewer. He improved to 3-1 with a 2.34 ERA in six August starts, a stark improvement from his marks of 0-2 and 9.95 in five July outings with the Lookouts.
Because of those numbers, Lee can feel his confidence growing every time he takes the hill as the 2012 season comes to a close.
"It's growing a lot actually. It's felt that way since we started changing things up around mid-July," he said. "Most of the changes --dropping my arm a little bit, making my slider sharper -- have made my stuff better each week. It just shows all that hard work is paying off in August. Hopefully, I can finish strong going into next year."
After a perfect first frame, Lee (3-3) walked Rich Poythress and then allowed back-to-back hits to Mike Zunino and Chih-Hsien Chang to load the bases with no outs.
"After the walk, I really had to pause and recollect myself," Lee said. "Then there were the two broken-bat hits there, and I thought I had really had to regroup, especially in that situation with the bases loaded. I came back, really playing for a groundout double play because that would the best way to limit them there."
The native Texan got just that. Johermyn Chavez bounced into a 6-4-3 double play that cleared the basepaths, but allowed Poythress to score through the back door. He struck out Joseph Dunigan to end the inning.
Perhaps a month ago, that second frame could have perhaps exploded. That fact didn't escape the right-hander.
"It could have been [a bigger inning], sure," he said. "But it's just one of those signs that I'm executing more and making great progress here."
Lee allowed only more hit -- a third-inning double by Brad Miller -- in his remaining four innings on the hill. He finished with six strikeouts, his highest total in the category since June 28. But in perhaps a better sign of success, he recorded a groundout-to-flyout ratio of 10-1, his highest of the season. The key in that category came down to two pitches.
"For me, I'm trying to work that two-seamer sinker away to left-handers and the slider to right-handers," said the 2010 first-round pick, who also employs a curveball and a changeup. "That's when you get guys to really roll over one and hit a ground ball. The big issue there is just keeping the ball down."
Lee's last start of the regular season is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 2 before the Lookouts, who stand atop the Southern League North Division, potentially enter the circuit's playoff race.
It was that hunt for the postseason that caught most of Lee's attention when his name was being thrown around in trade talks last week.
"I really hadn't paying attention at all to that," said the Lookouts starter. "The trade was kind of quick from a rumor standpoint. At that point when we got first word about anything going down, we really were in the thick of a playoff race, and that's all we're worried about.
"Obviously, we're sad to lose those guys, but we're all wishing those guys luck with the new opportunities they have over there. As for the Dodgers, they brought in some great guys, really filled some holes that have a great effect on the future."
After a strong finish to his 2012 campaign, Lee can only hope that he too will be part of that bright future in Los Angeles sooner rather than later.