Orioles agree to one-year contract with Derrek Lee

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No doubt sick of waiting for Adam LaRoche to accept multi-year offers that have been on the table for weeks now the Orioles have moved on to Plan B at first base, with Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reporting that they’ve agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Derrek Lee.

And ultimately the Orioles are probably better off that LaRoche dragged his feet. Instead of making a multi-year commitment to a non-elite first baseman they’ll see what Lee has left in the tank for a year and reevaluate things next offseason when several big name first basemen may be on the market.

Plus, there’s a strong chance Lee will be better than LaRoche in 2011 anyway. Lee is coming off arguably the worst season of his career, yet his .774 OPS is basically the same as the .788 OPS posted by LaRoche. Age and health are also factors, but Lee is one season removed from an MVP-caliber performance and has a half-dozen seasons in his track record superior to LaRoche’s best years.

As for LaRoche, this seemingly sets him up to sign with the Nationals, who were also in the mix for Lee.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.