Orioles “closing in on signing” first baseman Adam LaRoche

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Baltimore is “closing in on signing” first baseman Adam LaRoche, according to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse.

Craig wrote this morning that the Orioles, Nationals, and Padres are seemingly fighting it out for LaRoche and Derrek Lee, so perhaps Lee could generate a nice little bidding war now.

Arizona declined its $7.5 million option on LaRoche for 2011, choosing a $1.5 million buyout instead, and then LaRoche turned down the Diamondbacks’ arbitration offer, so they’ll receive a compensatory draft pick between the first and second rounds for letting him walk.

LaRoche drove in a career-high 100 runs this year, but also had his lowest batting average (.261), on-base percentage (.320), and OPS (.788) since 2005.  He’s typically been a slightly above-average first baseman offensively and adds some extra value with a good glove.

If the Orioles end up signing LaRoche he’ll join trade acquisitions Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy as part of a new-look infield that includes just one holdover in second baseman Brian Roberts.

Twins hire Baseball America’s John Manuel to work in the pro scouting department

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John Manuel of Baseball America announced via his Facebook on Tuesday that he has been hired by the Twins to work in the club’s pro scouting department. Manuel started working for Baseball America in 1996 and has been an editor for the publication since 2005.

The Twins have been among the slowest teams in baseball to modernize, but a recent reconstruction of the front office helped the team reach the postseason as a Wild Card team. Manuel will work with a front office that includes president of baseball operations Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine.

The Twins aren’t the only team to poach baseball writers. The Astros’ front office, for example, includes former Baseball Prospectus writers Kevin Goldstein, Mike Fast, and Colin Wyers. So it’s not surprising to see Manuel get a job with the Twins.