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January 5, 2011

Lee completes physical, headed back home (added Liz note)

First baseman Derrek Lee, who agreed to a one-year deal with the Orioles earlier this week, completed his physical in Baltimore today and was headed back to Southern California this evening.

The club is waiting on the results of the examination -- which will be determined either tonight or tomorrow morning -- before officially announcing the deal.

If all goes well, Lee likely will speak to the Orioles’ media contingent via a conference call on Thursday

Lee, 35, hit .260 with a .347 on-base percentage, 19 homers and 80 RBIs in 148 games with the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves in 2010.

Added: In other news, the San Diego Padres announced they have released right-hander Radhames Liz, whom the Orioles waived last winter. Liz, 27, had a 4.83 ERA in 25 games (22 starts) for the Padres' Triple-A affiliate in 2010.

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Posted by Dan Connolly at 6:19 PM | | Comments (23)


Is there any reason to believe his physical wouldn't go well?

No. But he is 35 and the Orioles' physicals are notorious. So it's worth noting. And I've covered this team long enough to know something isn't done until the press release hits the email account.

This is good news. Dan, what are your thoughts on the Orioles getting some starting pitching? Any idea who they're looking at?

Dan, I've been hearing from a lot of people that Lee really contributes in the clubhouse and is a great leader. I think that is perfect for the Oriole's young'ns.
But do you think on the conference you could ask him just some ways he helps lead? Or why he gets the reputation of a leader?

So, we're gonna get a conference call instead of a warehouse introduction? Does this team realize how long they have needed a legitimate 1st baseman? Wow, does this franchise "ever" do something "just for the fans"?

are the "notorious" physicals possibly part of the reason that no one willingly signs here. I remember a while back the O's nixed a deal for a player that ended up signing with the Mariners and at least for the first year did pretty well.

Dan, when you say notorious, what do you mean? Are the O's pretty big sticklers when it comes to physicals for players? Are they considerably more thorough than the other teams around the league?

why does everyone think this is such a good deal? we haven't heard anything for days since the apparent "signing", then when we do we "wait for the exam results" or "he flies back to California".....does anyone else feel weird about this? C'mon....we all know he doesn't want to play for the Orioles, even though he has proven himself to be a scrub, but he wants to get paid....let's welcome ourselves to our lives......

why does everyone think this is such a good deal? we haven't heard anything for days since the apparent "signing", then when we do we "wait for the exam results" or "he flies back to California".....does anyone else feel weird about this? C'mon....we all know he doesn't want to play for the Orioles, even though he has proven himself to be a scrub, but he wants to get paid....let's welcome ourselves to our lives......

It's time to bring in Vladimir Guerrero.Pavano is still out there too.Let's go!!!

What?, Lee didn't want to hang out in Baltimore and take in some of the sites? Sounds like he couldn't wait to get out of here!

I, for one, am interested to hear what Derrek has to say. I'm a big proponent of the signing, but he hasn't exactly given the impression that he's warm to B'more and O's fans.

I guess it could be as Jeff has said - that he doesn't want to comment until the deal is done. But I think Lee has an opportunity to step up and be a leader for this club, and hope he oozes enthusiasm when he does finally talk about joining the O's.

I always said Liz as a bullpen type of arm, he had some real live stuff, just never developed real control.

Kind of funny that the O's didn't have Lee stick around for a news conference.

Texas just signed Beltre yesterday, so it sure looks like Vlad Guerrero is going to be looking for another team. Andy could really cap off this winter by signing Guerrero and moving Luke Scott to LF.

My question Dan and Jeff, is why not try and win now? The fan base is sick of losing and we don't want our young players to get sick of it too and leave.

Nothing helps young pitching like a team that can put crooked numbers up on the board. Earl Weaver used to call it "Doctor Longball". Nothing cures a struggling young pitcher quicker then watching HIS team put up a 3 run dinger.

Scott will be a FA next year, why not make the move to keep him happy? He wants to prove he's a complete player, and improve the lineup this year?

The only real loser in signing Vlad would be Pie, it would sure be difficult for him to get at bats, or even maintain a roster spot. But Pie could be used in a trade to restock pitching depth.

Tallying up the signings so far, what is the projected O's payroll for 2011? At this point has it even risen much from last year? Is Mr. Angelos imposing a payroll cap? And what is it exactly?

The plan was said to be grow the arms and buy the bats. McPhail had to go out and use 4 young arms to acquire two ML bats to put in the order. He's now signed one veteran arm for the back of the BP to replace one of those arms.

By my count Andy left one bat leave,Wiggington, and replaced him with another,Lee. Lee's career power numbers should be an upgrade, but the O's only upgraded, they didn't add a bat.

What happened to buying bats? There is a very good one out there that's not going to cost a pick, and he would help slot every other hitter into a more favorable spot in the lineup. Why do the Orioles seem to have no interest?

These all seem to be reasonable questions to ask of Andy, Buck and the Angelos's. And it seems that no one is asking them.

My partial season ticket plan is still unrenewed. For 3 years I've been paying to help "buy the bats". Are the O's saying they can't afford Guerrero?

This isn't a budget busting move, just a sound baseball move that improves the lineup for less money per year then Millwood cost. And Guerrero's probably to be had for a one year deal with a vested option. Just exactly who would his signing block? Not a bat I see in the Minors that can come in and start at the ML level in the next two year...

If he can't help the lineup, I'd love to hear Buck explain why he would be better off without him.

Laroche was a far better option than a 35 year old with declining numbers. Of course, Angelos, the cheap SOB that he is didn't want to pay for a quality major league player in the prime of his career. The Nationals apparently want to win.

As usual the Orioles ended up with second and third tier free agents as Macphail is still Angelos' perfect foil to keep the payroll one of the lowest in MLB while looking busy. This is once again a sub .500 team going into this season. It's a shame that Oriole fans have to be subjected to this abuse year in and year old while Angelos stuffs 65 million a year from MASN in the bank and focuses on his other business pursuits, which appear to be far more iimportant to him. Why should he sell the team when he makes a ton of money off of a losing product?

I don't think Lee is going to do any more for the team than what Aubrey could have done, except cost more money. Let me know when the Orioles go after someone good, like Albert Puljos!

Would you consider Laroche a first tier free agent? If so, the guy must have the worst agent in mlb, as he ends up with a one year contract last year and what he considers one viable mult-year offer this year after everyone else is off the table. For a guy in the prime of his career, does that even seem logical? One stinking acceptable offer for a first tier free agent?
If the Nats really wanted to win, why didn't they retain Dunn? Money does not seem to be the issue there.Between Dunn and Laroche, is there even a real argument?

Noone is actually going to count losing Wigginton as a real big loss are they? He was mediocre at best. He's a real bad defensive player. And when he plays everyday, he gets exposed for what he is- a career backup. Lee is more than a simple upgrade over Ty.
C'mon now.

Gil - that's pretty harsh, a decidedly 'glass half empty' POV. You're entitled, I suppose, but I'd argue that Lee for 1 year is better than LaRoche for two, and I think most baseball pundits would back me up.

Though he is 35, Lee has shown that his ceiling is much higher than LaRoche's, and I, for one, am excited to see what he can do when healthy. Heck, he put up comparable numbers to LaRoche last year and did so with a bum thumb.

LaRoche, meanwhile, is the definition of 'average' ... ask yourself why he's looking for a new team just about every year. Then, go read Thomas Boswell's column from the Post yesterday, about how the Nats overpaid for LaRoche, and see if you feel differently.

No, I think the O's got the right guy, and at the right price. In fact, I'm willing to bet that Lee outperforms not only LaRoche, but also Victor Martinez, Adam Dunn, and Paul Konerko in 2011.

Joe his reference to notorious physicals is probably referring to certain players coming to the Orioles and almost immediately breaking down...think Glenn Davis and Albert Belle.

Any news if the O's are looking into swapping Tillman for another young player, possibly a bat?

Would the Royals or maybe the Reds have any interest.

The Reds have an OF who is an interesting player with pop, speed, just streaky...can't remember his name and it's not gomes.

The Royals have many...

your thoughts?


The fact is that the Orioles signed three infielders coming off down years if you look at their career stats. These signings are a wing and a prayer and not based on anything but hope. At this stage of his career Lee's injuries may continue to mount. And jim66, I didn't say Laroche was a top tier free agent, but he is younger and his numbers have been remarkably consistent. Take a look at where the Orioles payroll is and be honest, this is by design, not by chance.

I read Boswell all the time and I think he is as wrong about Laroche as he was wrong suggesting that the Redskins should dump Mike Shanahan. In my opinion the Orioles once again missed the opportunity to make the club competitive in the AL East. If it's not about the money, then what is it about?

i read boswell all of the time myself, been a big fan for many years, and the guy is spot-on about laroche- he has put up nothing more than industry average numbers for a first baseman. At the end of the day, the Nats and he were the only dancers at the FA Ball without a partner.

I mean, actually using laroche to show a team's committment to winning??? A stretch don't you think, especially when they let dunn walk out the door. Why not lock up Laroche for another 5 years, so he and his all-star numbers don't run away?

Especially when rizzo says that they liked Lee alot, was their first choice, and can't explain him signing with the Os.
So, if I follow your logic, that means that what Rizzo-the GM of the team you claim is going crazy trying to win- sees as a loss(Laroche not Lee) is actually an Orioles loss(Lee not LaRoche). I don't know, tell me, who am I to believe? It's not like Boswell was putting words in the guy's mouth.

Cmon Gil, your argument against Boswell's article is that you rarely agree with him. That's not an argument, that's a simple statement. Your argument holds no more water than me saying I hate Nestor, so Lee is going to have a great year.
And hey, if you feel like paying 20m for werth atage 36, be my guest.

On a side note, it seems as though the Nats are waving confederate money around. where have i heard that before.

Waye, Gil and the rest of you Os haters, one thing I now for certain about each of you is you aremore than willing to lat's say bend the facts to support your negative views. Fact is, you have no idea how things are going to turn out this year. Neither do I but there are a couple of very positive (I know, to you there is no such word in the language) indicators: under Showalter the same team that was the worst in baseball had one of the games best records over the last third of the year and the addition of Reynolds, Hardy and Lee vastly improves the infield over Bell, Hardy and Wiggington.

My earnest hope is that the Os play so well that it ruins each of your summers.


Sometimes I do agree with Boswell but not this time. I guess next you are going to tell me Lee is going to hit 35 home Runs and drive in 100 runs. Once a player's stats go down after age 35 they rarely come back up. Fact is, this should never have come down to the last two men standing. Signing a veteren who may be over the hill for one year is not a committment to winning. Nor do the Orioles have anyone in the farm system close to giving them consistent power production at first base. The Orioles had the money to dramatically improve the talent level at the major league level and make the team competitive. Once again Angelos just flat out didn't want to spend it. That's a fact.


Yes I am sick and tired of watching the Orioles lose year after year without seriously trying to compete. If you have been on the blog long enough you know I didn't start out this way. It was only after the 2008 offseason that I figured out what Angelos and Macphail were up to. I held two full season tickets for 35 years so I guess I am entitled to my opinion. I subsidized this train wreck for far too long. And please don't use that juvinile hip hop term "hater" for somone who doesn't agree with you. That cheapens the argument.

Come on people , enough is enough . I bet all you big mouths out there complaining about what the O's did or didn't do . Please ! Go live someware else or at least root for another team . Shut up!! Didn't your folks teach you anything about manners . I bet your Mom.s are ashame of what your saying about people .
Curt S.S. Md

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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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