Sunday, December 19, 2010


And waiting still.

The Orioles ARE going to get a first baseman. Of this I am certain. Adam LaRoche and Derrek Lee are the two men that the Orioles have tapped to man the right corner of the infield. One of them, most likely, will be wearing an Orioles uniform next year. Reportedly, the Orioles have at least shown heavy interest in both and may, or may not, have made offers to both. In this situation you get the feeling that both Lee and LaRoche are waiting for the other to go first and "set the market" for their services.

Both players want a multi-year deal. Both have perceived shot-comings going into next season. Konerko's contract doesn't really mean anything to them due to the whole Chicago connection. And with the big spending teams already largely set at first base LaRoche and Lee are not in any real hurry. Both of these guys know that no matter where they go competition is unlikely among the teams vying for their services. The money will probably be about the same as will the length and terms of the contracts they receive. SO there is no real hurry for them, and therefore no real hurry for the teams.

LaRoche and Lee are solid, good, reliable options - but they aren't superstar players. They won't increase ticket sales or, by themselves, rocket an under-performing team to sure contention or stardom. The Orioles could easily get one year's worth of production out of a player like Russell Branyan (a move I would hate) or sign an aging DH like Jim Thome or Vlad Guerrero and move Luke Scott or Nolan Reimold to first base. They could do either of those things and probably get production similar to that of either of their two coveted free agents.

I think the Orioles, and the other teams involved, realize that they are largely bidding against themselves here. LaRoche and Lee are fine, but not irreplaceable and both of these guys are taking their time as well, hoping for some impatient GM to blink and tip the first domino.

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