After finishing a disappointing 66-96 last season, the Baltimore Orioles have made strides to upgrade their team this off-season. First they acquired Mark Reynolds from the Diamondbacks in a trade, and then they brought in shortstop J.J. Hardy from Minnesota in another deal. Now, The Baltimore Sun reports they have agreed on a one-year deal with first baseman Derrek Lee.
Lee is coming off a down year where he only hit .260 with 19 home runs. He got traded mid-season to the Braves and did well, but he only managed three home runs in 129 at-bats for them. Given that Lee smashed 35 home runs with a .972 OPS in 2009, this is a strong signing for Baltimore. On top of consistently playing good defense, he’s a good bounceback candidate for 2011.
Baltimore may not be anywhere near competing in the AL East, but at least they’ve improved their team. The infield consisting of Reynolds, Hardy, Roberts, and Lee is nothing special, but at least it’s respectable. Their pitching is another story, but at least they’re moving in a competitive direction, and I’d much rather have Lee on a one-year deal than Adam LaRoche on a three.