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December 31, 2010

O's agree to terms with Lee

The Orioles are close to knocking off a big item from their offseason wish list as they have agreed to terms with free agent first baseman Derrek Lee, according to sources.

The deal is pending a physical and the terms of the deal aren’t currently known, but Lee’s camp has made it clear that the veteran was content with a one-year pact worth between $8 and $10 million that would allow him to improve his value in anticipation of becoming a free agent again next offseason.

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail declined comment.

Lee, a 35-year-old veteran of 14 big league seasons, batted .260 with 19 homers and 80 RBIs in 148 combined games for the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves in 2010. However, he played all season with a torn ligament in his right thumb, an injury that he sustained on Opening Day and is believed to have contributed to his decline in power numbers.

The season before, Lee, who had surgery on the thumb early last month and is expected to be ready for spring training, batted .306 with 35 homers and 111 RBIs in 141 games for the Cubs in 2009, and finished in the top 10 in National League Most Valuable Player voting.

A two-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove winner, Lee is a career .282 hitter.

According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Lee was lukewarm with the idea of signing with the Orioles earlier this offseason, but the number of teams with first base vacancies has dwindled. The Orioles also appeared to be focused on signing Adam LaRoche, but talks with him reached an impasse over the free agent’s insistence on a three-year deal.

Once that happened, the Orioles renewed their negotiations with Lee’s agent, Casey Close.

The deal would complete the Orioles’ offseason infield overhaul. They traded for third baseman Mark Reynolds, a teammate of LaRoche’s last year with the Arizona Diamondbacks, shortstop J.J. Hardy and utility man Brendan Harris. They also re-signed Cesar Izturis, their starting shortstop over the past two seasons, to provide depth behind second baseman Brian Roberts, who played just 59 games last year because of a herniated disk in his back.

Once their first base vacancy is filled, the Orioles will focus on upgrading their pitching staff. They have an offer out for reliever Kevin Gregg, and they also are considering adding a left-handed reliever. Their preference also would be to add a veteran starter.

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Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 3:15 PM | | Comments (81)


FINALLY!, I hope He has a monster year. It will be sort of nice to have a player in the fold with a chip on his shoulder.

A solid bat, great glove, and just another step towards moving the organization to respectability. They're building a great clubhouse atmosphere, bringing in some vets and a coaching staff that will also help move the young guys along.
Plus, it looks like both sides got what they really wanted- flexibility for next year.

Nice way to wrap up the year.

JEFF, break out the Champagne! The O's finally got a deal done!

Now does this mean Snyder will be the Every-day player in 2012? I hope so!


Jeff Z's reply: He's going to have to have a good year at Triple-A.

It's about time! I'm really happy they are getting Lee. He will be a solid addition to the middle of the order + he brings gold glove defense. Good person to split up Markakis and Scott in the batting order.

Whew!!! Ok I can relax now. Welcome to Baltimore, Derrick Lee. Happy New year to us. This is great news!

Good solid move for the O's. Hopefully, he can pull a "Beltre" and have a great contract year.

That's good news . Maybe he will see we are going in the right direction , and resign with us .
Curt S.S. Md.

Great get. Now who's available to start? Offense should improve but the pitching leaves us battling for fourth.

Thanks Jeff. Been checking 3 times a day for news on a 1B.

Here's hoping that he is healthy and has a 25-100 year!!!!!

Jeff Z's reply: Thanks PJ, happy New Year to you as well. Trust me, I was as frustrated with this as you were.

Laroche made it clear he did not want to be an Oriole by demanding too much...the Orioles will be a good team soon with all the young pitching talent and Laroche will regret spurning the O's. Now on to the bullpen sing Soriano we need a bona fide closer period.....

OK-- time for Spring Training!!!! What veteran started are the Orioles likely to sign? Is there any interest in the Rays' Soriano for the closer role or will they get Gregg and have a competition between him and Koji? Happy New Year!!!!!!

Happy new year O's fans! This is one big hole closing up... I'm happy with this addition.

im tired of the orioles just renting players come July they will want to send him somewhere to get more prospects lets get serious and put a good product on the field each year i've been a oriole fan for 55 yrs and ex ticket holder i'm tired of Mcphail and Angelos

Let the haters begin: ex-Cub, loser, on the downside of his career, coming off injury, doesn't want to be here, McFAIL does it again, etc., etc., etc. What this signing means is, the O's have a brand new infield (considering BRob really played about 1/3 of a season), excellent gloves, good hitters, new blood, and BUCK. Now, get Soriano, and the offseason will be very positive. Can't wait for Spring Training to start. Happy New Year, everyone.

Good news. It's something too feel optimistic about heading into Spring Training. Offense shouldn't be a problem. Now let's hope the pitching staff steps up.

At 35 years old and a salary of between $8M - $10M, he won't likely geta deal much more - or longer - no matter how well he plays. So if we had an option with a $500,000 buyout to protect him as well and give him incentive to sign such a deal.

Otherwise, we have to go through this whole thing again. And no, we are not getting Fielder or Pujols. So unless Joe Mahoney lights it up at Bowie this summer, we'll be right back where we started.

Also, Adam LaRoche is an idiot. Now he has to sign with the only remaining team - the Nationals - likely for fewer dollars and fewer years than he could have had with us. Bad thinking on his part. The Nats have all the leverage.

Anyway, a hearty 'good job' to the oft-maigned Andy MacPhaiil. He moved at a dreadful pace, but he got it done.

Hooray! The wait is over!

I know there are those who will say that Lee is too old, on a downward slide or way past his prime, but I like this a lot. Lee is a very good fielder, someone who gets on base and who can knock the ball over the fence. He's one year removed from a .306/35/106 campaign, with last year's down year attributable to a bum thumb.

Let's say he hits .290 with 26 HRs and drive in 96 RBIs ... is that not a guy we can use in the middle of the lineup? Even if he doesn't reach 30 bombs, this is a guy who will make pitchers think twice about pitching around Markakis. He brings true stability and depth to the lineup. He may be the most well-rounded hitter the O's have had since Palmeiro and Tejada in his hey-day.

Suddenly this lineup looks formidable; it also doesn't hurt that he's a RH hitter and, from what I've read, a good clubhouse guy.

Kudos to MacPhail and company for letting this thing play out and legitimately improving the ballclub.

Welcome to Baltimore, Derrek!

Hallelujah! Lee wasn't my first choice but I think he can have big bounce back season here. This team is going to surprise a few people.

So they rent Lee for year rather then pay a younger LaRoche for three. I'm sure Angelos vetoed a three year contract for LaRoche. As long as Angelos owns the team, this type of shortsighted, cheap thinking will prevail. If you are building for the future you need stability at key positions, especially in the infield.

As usual when it comes to free agents, the Orioles went for sloppy seconds{and thirds}this offseason. I guess "The time isn't right'' yet. I can't wait for Macphail to crow that we finally have our verison of a big right handed bat.

Awesome! It will be soooo nice to watch a lineup with no truly easy outs. This should be a lot more fun than last year!


It's like a huge weight has been lifted from our collective shoulders. I was really starting to get worried that this wouldn't happen.

Well Done AM. If Lee has a healthy season for us, he could put up some huge numbers. Steady production from Reynolds and good seasons from Jones, Scott, and Markakis will make us a lineup that teams don't want to face. Improvement from Weiters, Pie, and Reimold could make us scary. And a healthy summer from Roberts and Hardy would make this lineup absolutely seamless.

I can't wait for spring training!

Derrek Lee will be much better with the glove and the plate than any of the guys who played 1B last season. Maybe he has a great year and the O's do well and he signs an extension or maybe he does great and the O's don't play well, trade him at the break. I don't see a downside to this at all. I would like to see Josh Bell play 1B for an entire year at AAA and see if he's part of the plan for 2012 or not.

LaRoche for 2 years makes sense, but 3 years is too much for him. I am sure some with say another ex-Cub, but the deal makes sense. Rosenthall has been saying he thinks Lee would be a better fit for the O's than LaRoche so hopefully this works out for the best.

I like what Will A just said about Lee having a chip on his shoulder because there is no better way to prove everyone wrong, by having a great year. Huff had a chip on his shoulder last season and he had a great season for San Fran.

On paper, they have improved production from 3B, SS and 1B. That's three major positions so now if we get a few arms for the pen and a starter which in my opinion, should be a bigger priority than signing Kevin Gregg and let's see how 2011 plays out under Buck.

Now that's the first sign of 2011 being a better year! Now Mark Reynolds and Markakis will have someone behind them who pitchers have to respect.

Good deal. I was very unsure of LaRoche after seeing him with the Braves the first time around. Lee could help with the bat and his glove.

Good signing... Lee will have a good year and we can trade him at the deadline for prospects as we will surely be in last place...again.

This made my day. I've been checking the Sun every day praying for something to happen regarding signing a good offensive and defensive first baseman...Finally!

If Lee can come even halfway between his numbers of 2009 and 2010 he will be an enormous help to the O's, not only providing a solid clubhouse presence and saving a lot of throwing errors with his excellent defense, but fill an O's need for another right-handed power bat. The O's will not be so vulnerable to left-handed pitching anymore.

Now let's add another solid innings-eating starter and that left-handed reliever and maybe one more right-handed reliever and see about leaping above .500!!!!!

Lee is a good short term solution for 1B, but don't be surprised if he hits .250 with 14 HRs in 2011.

I'm glad to see the O's got a nice glove and a good bat at 1B with Derek Lee. With him in the lineup, all the bats have some pop. Imagine what could happen if the O's have a great year next season. Maybe that will have some attraction for available FAs to play for the O's and possibly a big bat at 1B for a number of years. Just thinking ahead, but I'm getting geared up for Spring Training!


Hey Eric, apparently you are Mr. Gloom and Doom without any possible reason for being so. Lee gutted it out last year with numbers we would have been OK with, even though he played injured from Spring training on. His last 4 yr numbers are what you need to look at...try 25 HR, 90 RBI, .375 OBP. So go back to your corner and let the rest of us enjoy this moment.

Also, remember guys, first basemen tend to have a little longer career that belies their age. This guy doesn't turn 35 until the end of the year. That's Konerko age. Lastly, Lee has played on some really bad teams over the years with very few "table setters" ahead of him. THIS IS VERY EXCITING and if we can only get Balfour and maybe Ron Mahay or another established lefty, we are going to scare a lot of teams this year. Way to go AM? Hey, leonard, still mad?

Great news. Adding a solid 1B who will bat cleanup.

How about a little love for Andy MacPhail now, O's fans?

Happy New Year - who is on first? Yo it's Mr. Lee - now get a couple of pitchers and lets get ready to roll into spring training - way to go O's

JEFF-now that we can all finally stop the firstbase talk and assuming his physical goes through where do you see him hitting in the lineup?

Do we put JJ 2 and Nick third and D fourth or my prefence Nick 2 and D Lee third?

Mark my words, I have said it all along on these blogs Lee is the best fit for us at first base. He was the best defensive fit amonth the free agents and provides the big time RH pop we need allowing Reynolds to move farther down the order and providing much needed protection for Nick. I wish we could have signed him for an option year but I'll take this.

Its amazing how many people are excited about this because all I have been reading is how no one wanted Lee and was very high, for some reason, on Laroche. He is healthy now and Derek could be in perfect position for a tremendous year and comeback player of the year.

What a dramatic change in our lineup in one month and no matter what anyone says I think AM has done a wonderful job given the ownership constraints he has to deal with. In one year he landed a great manager and almost a whole new infield with great production and potentional.

I would guess our lineup will now be
Pie/someone else in LF

Maybe even flipping Jones and Wieters.

I would still like to see us go get a DH like Vlad. As much as I prefer him a player such as Thome or Branyan may make more sense limiting Scott in the field to less time. But a player like Vlad would be worth the risk of Scott in the outfield in my mind. Also, Pie is not projecting as a full time player. I have had a similar injury to my scapula for the past four years and it is not as minor as many may think, it has knocked me out of commission completely.

Now its time to get what we really need PITCHING. I hope to see Gregg go somewhere else for 5 million a year and would rather see Rauch come here and re-sign Ohman. Then go back out and maybe its time to spend the money on Pavano, make a trade for J. Sanchez(whom the Giants may part with now due to Bumgardner) or go get Millwood and C Young to compete on smaller contracts with incentives built in. I finally am excited about this team but we still have quite a ways to go.

John in Conn -

Andy gets no love until a) he acquires a true, top of the line, franchise changing player or b) the Orioles post a winning record.

I think Lee is a good addition for 2011, but unless the O's sign Prince Fielder next winter, we'll just be back to looking for another stop-gap first baseman after missing the playoffs for the 14th year in a row.

What a terrific infield makeover Andy has pulled off this offseason! The O's still have a surplus of outfield talent they could trade for another couple of pitchers.

But look how the offense has improved over 2010. The O's should be able to average 5 runs per game now, and their pitching staff threatens to have a team ERA under 5.00. That translates into winning a bit more than losing, i.e. 82-85 wins. Should be a far more interesting season than we've witnessed in a long time!

And Showalter at the helm should mean extra wins even if was the same lineup as last year. Dare we hope for 88 wins?

Great signing! OMG, so pleased. Clearly a better 1B option than LaRoach on both sides of the ball. Soooooo relieved.

GOOD JOB ANDY!!!! 2011 Orioles are CLEARLY improved over 2010 Orioles.

I think other than a couple Bull Pen guys, the off season is pretty much over. Rotation looks like...


BRING ON 2011!!!! Nick Markakis' All Star year!!!

People keep saying we have no chance at fielder or pujols next year but I ask why not? Yankees have their man, Red Sox have their man, Phillies have their man. We can not compete with those three but they all already have their guy the orioles should be able to compete with the rest of the league for one of these guys.


Would be absolutely shocking if Pujols did not re-sign with the St. Louis Cardinals. He is their Ripken, their Jeter. Just cross him off your list and save any heartbreak.

That people are excited about this signing is evidence of how low the Orioles have sunk.

The Orioles still drop 90 games.

Happy New Year.

This made my New Years Eve. A new and revamped infield. I am pumped up about the the 2011 O's!
And well put Colorado Oriole!


I'm really excited about how the team is being revamped. We obviously didn't get the very best players out there but we did something and it's an upgrade. Way, way better than the Atkins signing. I'm glad we didn't get Laroche. For one he's not that stellar and two we already now have one strikeout king. Both players played with injuries last year and hopefully this year they will be healthier and more productive.

Go O's and happy new year to bird fans!

Patrick, that is what i've been saying all along. The Angels have their man. The White Sox have two 1b/dh types. Obviously St Louis or Milwaukee wouldn't be in the running. So what big teams are left? Rangers maybe, nationals? mets? So we don't have as much competition.
Lets go O's

Andy had a very good fall. The infield is upgraded dramatically, including a huge upgrade defensively at !B and probably the same at 3B. He added power at three positions and he addressed the lack of right handed bats that caused them so much trouble against lefties the last few years.

No they won't be in the playoffs, but anyone who says this team will lose 90 again just wasn't paying attention last year after Buck took over.

Now I think Andy will land a veteran pitcher (don't be totally shocked if it's Millwood) and a reliver or two. I doubt they will spring for Soriano, but it is starting to look like there's no market for him and his price might start to drop.

I know all the haters will disagree, but Andy's plan remains on course. There is still a long way to go, but this is a much better organization and team than it was 3 years ago.

A nice signing. Just a year removed from an MVP type of year. Last year was no indication of what he can do. Look at 2009 to see more clearly what the O's have gotten.

Jeff Z,

Since the Baltimore Orioles inked Lee to only a 1-year deal, who do you see there next year? Brandon Snyder? I really like his attitude, and his mental-makeup to be an all-star caliber player. Was kinda surprised he wasn't talked about much this winter though.

But my question is, if he tears Triple-A up, and the O's are still in this thing at the AS break. Would you see them trading Lee, and giving the full-time 1B job to Snyder? Or do you see Snyder being the everyday 1B guy in 2012?

Happy New Year Jeff!


Jeff Z's reply: A little early for me to begin speculating about 2012, Michael. I'm just damn happy it appears that they have a 1B for 2011 and I can stop speculating and providing mindless incremental updates. I still like Snyder. I think he can hit if he stays healthy. But he is going to have to really perform well this year for me to believe he is the long-term solution at the position. But sure, one of the reasons Lee was probably attractive is if he has a good year, the Orioles can either trade him for prospects at the deadline or they can recoup draft picks for him.

it really goes to show how cheap the orioles are,they sign lee for one year. how many years will it be before they have someone reading in the is a real joke signing lee. rent a player.

was actually considering cancelling my long time tickets, now my rowdy tail will be in my row 23 seats right behind Oriole on deck circle
Good job McPhail. in Buck we trust.


Quick question. I wonder why no one has mentioned the previous attempt to acquire Lee. After the supposed deal particulars were agreed on with the Marlins, he came to Camden Yards supposedly to discuss a extension, of which was a prerequisite for the trade to complete. He didn't agree to a deal and the rest is history. At that time, I got the impression that Lee just flatout didn't want to come to Baltimore, period; It seemed like he just had some kind of personal misgivings about it. I understand that that was another time and regime, but considering that he exhibited similar reluctancy about coming here this time around (i.e. he was "lukewarm" about coming here earlier this offseason), he's obviously coming here to earn a better deal next offseason, and only came here because of a lack of options. ?

Jeff Z's reply: I did mention it Eddie in the story that will be in Saturday's newspaper and maybe on our website now. The first draft, I just wanted to get the news out there. Without talking to Lee, I won't speculate on his reasons for coming to Baltimore this time around. But I'm sure he didn't have a ton of options, but that doesn't bother me in the least. It's no secret that the Orioles aren't going to be a preferred destination for free agents right now, not until they start winning. The last two months last year was a pretty good start and now they've had a decent offseason.

Jeff how you liking this idea

2011- D-Lee
2012+ Brandon Snyder


I guess we can wait and see if laroche gets his 3 yr deal before we crap all over the Os for not giving him one.
Lee is a good short term solution for 1B, but don't be surprised if he hits .282with 30 HRs in 2011

Jeff Z,

With the signing of Derek Lee, how much of an adjustment will he have with American League pitching since he's played his whole career in the National League. Assuming he's fully healthy, will he need more than one season to make an impact or will he be able to adjust to the American League style rather easily.


Jeff Z's reply: Lee's a pro. He's played parts of 14 seasons in the big leagues so I'm sure he's seen just about everything. I don't think it will be that big of an adjustment.

I like that he's right handed, but that's about it. We don't have anyone else who will be ready in a year (certainly not B. Snyder), so I would've preferred the younger guy for 3 years. An older guy coming off an injury doesn't excite me too much.

i really like Lee's short stroke to the ball. A gap hitter. LaRoche is longer and more loopy.
Its been a real pleasure reading the comments on this particular blog. No one knows what will happen but the O's are now legit. Just be healthy, 1-9


What about the possibility of signing Thames? do you think they will sign another starter? Any favorites?

Jeff Z's reply: Thames and Derrek Lee have the same agent so he and MacPhail spent plenty of time on the phone. I wouldn't rule it out though I was told by a team official recently that Thames is probably unlikely. As for starting pitching, your guess is as good as mine. There are just so quality options out there right now and that seems to have been put on the backburner as they attempt to upgrade the offense and the bullpen.


Last questions. Do you think the Gregg deal will get done? Will Britton compete for spot in the rotation? Is it Tatum, Izturis, Fox, and Reimold on the bench?

Jeff Z's reply: I'm getting less optimistic by the day about Kevin Gregg. They've had an offer on table for about 3 weeks. You have to conclude at some point that he's not interested, but O's still think they're in it. I would be shocked if Britton makes Opening Day rotation and that's not because I don't think he's capable of having great spring, or even he belongs. I just think the O's will be very cautious with him. At this point, yeah, I think that would be my guess to the bench. but it wouldn't surprise me if they added another outfielderor corner infield type that would either push Fox off the roster or force Reimold to Triplle-A to start the season.

Please stop the wishful thinking about Brandon Snyder. If he was going to be any kind of stud ballplayer we'd have seen at least some unmistakable signs by now. Except for pitchers, very few players suddenly reverse mediocre minor league careers to become major league stars. Kudos to A.M. and the O's for signing Lee. This season now has a lot of legitimate promise. Another quality pitcher or two and things could be really interesting in the AL East.

I can't believe what a bad decision this was but again, I am not suprised. Derrick Lee struggled all last year and was streaky. He was traded to Atlanta, and they crumbled the final month and did not make playoffs.

Derrick Lee is not folling anyone. He knows he is in the twilight of his career and this is one last time to back up the brinks truck. Atlanta was only going to offer 3-4 mil . He ain't worth that. This will not sell tickets, win games, or improve their record over the year.

Derrick Lee is a bum baseball player and he is a big $$ waste of maoney, again.
Should paid Textiera25 mil and solved the 1st base problem once and for all.
Andy MacFailure is a bum GM who only can negotiate with old has been Cub players and Cub agents. I don't remember the Cubs winning anything for 80 yrs+ so why would we even pick through their aging worthless roster of baseball players?
Orioles are losers again in 2011. 71-91 record, last place in AL east and 25 games out.
When will PA sell??

Last time I checked, Braves made the playoffs but go on ...

Ok,Jeff you are right. Going to playoffs the Braves did, but did they win one game? Did Lee conribute to anything when he was reunited with his old team that drafted him in big leagues?
I had high hopes for him last year in fantasy and he was a bust and showing his age with poor performance.
I guess this buys time for more Free agent trades in July if he is hitting but in Al east? Can he still hit a fastball?

Lee and Konerko are entirely comparable players. Look at their full careers and their ages. Konerko may have a bit more power, but Lee has the edge on defense. In addition, the third year that was given to Konerko could easily turn out to be an ill advised gamble. Regarding Victor Martinez, he would have been a nice bat, but he's a catcher who plays an adequate (at best) first base. As for Pena, it's clear to me that he's on a steady downward slope. Overall, I believe the Orioles came out of the first base saga very well. My only regret is that there is no vesting option, but Lee clearly believes in his ability to rebound, and that's a good sign.

In retrospect, AM made some exceedingly shrewd moves this winter, and IMO deserves plenty of appreciation.

Unless the Orioles decide to sign Pavano (no more than 2 years), they shouldn't bother with any of the remaining starters. Internal options have better upside. All that's needed is a high quality relief pitcher or two and some bench help.

I'm looking forward to a new decade. I've got more optimism for 2011 than I've had in a very long time.

I'm excited about this signing. Derrick Lee will bring us much needed offense, plus a 'real' glove at first base. I don't quite understand the nay sayers. Who did you want us to sign? Have you looked at Tex's numbers from last year? We got Lee for only one year, so what? There will be all kinds of future options, both within the organization and out. I see the O's winning AT LEAST 81 games.

At the end of the day, a 1 year deal for Lee is a much better idea than getting locked in with LaRoche for three years. Our lineup is in so much better shape with Hardy, Reynolds and Lee. Mission accomplished AM. Bringing hope back to this O's fan.

@Keir, I couldn't agree with you anymore brotha, every word you said was in my mind. MacFail has definitely FAR exceeded any expectations I had for this offseason I would absolutely love bringing Vlad to Baltimore he would make our lineup much more formidable, I personally would like them to bring in Young on a one year incentive-laden deal and would think Balfour would look real good in an Os uniform next season.

Great News! People have been talking about LaRoche like he is the second coming of Lou Gehrig (he ain't), but Lee is far better and more likely to be productive despite his age.

Forget the Division championship. Baby steps first: Let's get over .500 with this crew!

OK, great job..... AM has been on the ball the last few months..... Showalter, Reynolds, Lee and so on.....give credit where credit is due! Next year is next year (2012season) you complainers but until then ..... IF the pitching holds up THIS YEAR, then .... print out the WS tickets 'cause here we go!!
(I like my tea with a litte tang in it, please)

Hey, even the yanks didn't get all the players they just doesnt happen that way. We have made some very good moves that will improve us immensly.... if the pitching performs as expected. It will be an exciting year in the yard!

Kudos to the Orioles for remaking the roster. Looks like we are moving in the right direction. Need to post a winning season and show a commitment to winning before we can be serious contenders in attracting marquee players. Hopefully we will finish above .500 in 2011. Go Orioles~ I am spelling some Camden Yards magic!


Jeff Z's reply: As I've said before, I think Capuano would be a good low-risk signing, but I haven't heard that the O's are interested.


Great news on Lee. My number #1 question right now for you is whether you see them possibly continuing to pursue one of the available DHs (Thome or Guerrero). This would allow them to move Scott back to LF, and possibly use Pie or Reimold as trade bait for a SP.

Jeff Z's reply: I'm sure we'll hear more about this in the coming days, especially when/if Lee's deal becomes official. My impression is the Orioles are content going forward with what they have offensively, but that could change if they trade a Pie or a Reimold for pitching.

I think this is a great signing for the Orioles. Is anyone concerned with Lee's age?

I've been beating the drum to sign Guerrero for weeks. Since the 1B signing is Lee I could also see Thome at DH.

Pie could be used as trade bait for pitching depth and Riemold could split time in LF with Scott. Maybe Buck could have a LF combo like the old Roenicke/Lowenstien platoon.

Guerrero could be a the cleanup hitter that pulls this lineup all together.

Seems like we got better on offense, but you need to net out the Wigginton numbers. Although he was very streaky, he did deliver power that will be missed in a utilty IF. To contend, we need LF and another front-line pitcher. A whole year with a healthy BRob plus the new infielders will add more runs.

We frankly don't know if Lee's decline last year was based on age or injury but we'll find out this summer. My guess is injury because 35 isn't old anymore becuase the money is so good and as a result players focus on conditioning.

Let's recap whay was available. Martinez wanted to catch more than the Os could offer him with Weiters around. Konerko was never going to leave Chicago. LaRouche wanted a 3 year contract and the Os for whatever reason didn't want to give him one. He's a better than average player but not a great one.

Lee and Reynolds will likely produce 60 hrs and 180 rbis and provide much better than average defense. Hardy will provide much better offense at SS even if he has a year like last year AND will hold his own defensively. The Os, therefore have a much better offense.

The Os were 34-23 under Showalter without this level of offense. The main reason was the pitching, especially the starters. Other than Paverno, I agree with those who say sticking with our young starters is better than bringing in a free agent. If the pitching holds up this team will be fun to watch, except for those of you who only enjoy watching failure. You guys are in for a miserable summer. For the true Os fans, remember how much fun it was the watch them under Showalter? This summer may well be even more fun!

All is well in Birdland!! I have my confirmation that AM has done well. Angry, bad grammar, leonard chimes in with negativism once again. That's enough for me, since he is in the Seinfeld "Bizarro World". Anything he says, the opposite will happen.

AM has revamped 75% of the infield with about 70-75 home runs and much better defense, as we'll soon see. Now, let's get those two relievers and we'll be fun to watch.

I'm psyched about getting to Sarasota now. Go O's.

Hey Jeff Davis, stop acting like angry leonard. Apparently you give D Lee no credit for gutting it out last year, playing with a banged up thumb all year. And I'm sure you probably know what a banged up thumb can do to a hitter as it has little to no time to heal. The man still had numbers we could have used at 1B. Moreover, the last 4 years he's averaged 25 HR and 90 RBI with a .375 OBP. As all baseball people know, first baseman tend to have a longer "shelflife" than most other position players. It's just the nature of the position. I'm looking for him to bounce back with his average numbers and that will be huge for this team. It's time to give AM the credit he deserves. For all those who claim that AM moves at a snail's pace, remember that it takes 2 to tango. I always have to laugh at all those who post, who act like they have "inside information" or something. Before Spring Training, you'll see plenty of deals go down. It's all about the process. Now, let's get 2 more relievers! Go O's.

great job Im so ready for baseball its not even funny Im looking forward to hanging out in sarasota in the newly renovated ed smith stadium with the boys of summer hope everyone had a safe and wonderful holiday season see you all in march

If everything goes well, the Oriole infield for 2011 could be something to behold. Couple that with a Markakis rebound year (fingers crossed), a Jones improvement year (if he really is a 5-tool player waiting to happen), an unusual LF platoon of Pie/Scott/Reimold that harkens the day of Roenicke/Lowenstein/Ayala, a pitching staff that universally improves, and a catcher nearing his projected potential, the Orioles could indeed have that coveted 82-win season. Heck, if all -- and I mean all -- goes well, 90 wins are even possible.

I'll stick with 72 wins for the moment even though the Derrek Lee signing could have bumped it up. Based on where the Orioles were at the time of the signing, it is a good signing. A one-year rental is never a great signing unless that signing puts a team over a hump to genuinely compete for a championship or is a necessary bridge. I'm not sure yet (there's plenty of work to be accomplished) if the Orioles are genuinely competing for an 82nd win, and there's nothing in the minors to bridge to at first base.

From 2000-05, Lee had five years of at least 27 HRs. Since then, he has had only one year surpassing 22 HRs. Last year was excused as an injury, not age. He only played in 50 games in 2006. With fingers again crossed, we can hope for a healthy Lee who produces a .280 BA, 25 HRs, and 90 RBIs. Whatever he does, he will be gone in 2011.

No need to recap Brian Roberts troubling season last year. It would be nice if he could produce his .283 lifetime BA and get near 40 doubles and 30 steals again. He probably won't see ten HRs again but 150 games would be nice considering there's no viable back-up. Otherwise, the Orioles are in a black hole at second with Roberts signed through 2013 and possessing little value.

JJ Hardy is part of a younger left side of the infield. I guess we'll see what arbitration brings, and what Hardy's numbers are going to be. He could be a free agent in 2012. The real question mark surrounds his durability. He has managed playing 120 games in only half of his six years, the last being three years ago. His offensive numbers seem to tie into his health directly as well.

Then, there's Mark Reynolds. His asset with HRs versus his liability with Ks have been well hashed and rehashed. Perhaps more alarming than his .242 lifetime BA is how few doubles he has hit on his way to whiffing and putting balls over the outfield fence. Given the dimensions for a pull right-handed hitter at the Yards compared to Chase Field and the other parks of the NL West, the doubles may go down. One can only hope the HRs are near 32.5 -- his 162-game average based on 452 games played in the last three years.

It could be very nice for 2011.

In one year, we will lose Lee. In two years, Hardy will either be too expensive to resign or too broken to be worth keeping. All bets are off if Roberts can even be healthy for 2011 much less further down the road.

Whatever happens with the arms we are "growing" aside, it seems the bats we are "buying" are short term. Setting up something for a sustainable future seems to be a can that is being kicked down the road that has a darker future than the hope-and-pray version of 2011.

The Orioles should be more entertaining at least.

Glad to see that the job (for 2011) is done. Beyond that, I hope that Brandon Snyder comes on and proves he can do it. But keep an eye on Joe Mahoney. I have seen him play at low and high A ball and he is fun to watch. He would not be the first major leaguer who got better as he moved through the system.

Little bits and pieces here and there are making this puzzle complete, don't worry, Buck knows what he's doing, he has a plan. When is Orioles Fanfare? Can't wait to go, last year was great, it should be even better this year.

I can't wait to see what this team plans to do after Lee's contract expires. Who will take his place? Fielder? (keep dreaming). Snyder? (Com'on, you know he'll never be a ML player) The Os not only don't have a power threat 1B in the minor league system.....they don't have a power threat at ANY position.

We now have an infield that loves to stay on the injury list. The trainer had better get plenty of rest. He could be in for the year of his career.
What could be good for the Os is that Lee has his best years when he's playing for a new contract. So whatever he has used in the past to boost those HR/RBI numbers in his past contract seasons, will hopefully be used again.


Lee at first did not want to come to Baltimore. However, he must realize that if he is productive, he will be dealt to a contender at the trading deadline for some dud prospect.

really? has anyone noticed that this is all according to "sources" and we haven't heard anything since? no media coverage whatsoever.....hmmmmmm.....

It's pending physical and the physical is set for Wednesday.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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