The makeover of the Baltimore Orioles' everyday infield continues. First, the team traded for third baseman Mark Reynolds. Next, they dealt for shortstop J.J. Hardy. And on New Year's Eve, word's out that they've reached an agreement with first baseman Derrek Lee.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the only remaining hurdle is the standard physical exam. Once that's complete, the Orioles will have officially signed the free agent first baseman to a one-year contract. It's unknown what Lee will be paid. He earned $13 million a year ago in the final season of a five-year contract, but he's looking at a pretty severe pay cut going forward.
The 35-year-old Lee is one of a few free agent first basemen the Orioles have been considering. He spent last season as a member of the Cubs and Braves, batting .260 with 19 home runs. However, he hit .306 with a .972 OPS the year before, and has a total .854 OPS over the past three seasons. On a short contract, the Orioles will hope that Lee can rediscover some of his 2009 ability and make for a strong bat in the middle of the order.
The Orioles may not field a playoff team in 2011, but at the very least, their on-field product should be respectable. Check out more on Lee and the Orioles over at Camden Chat.