Getting tired of waiting for Adam LaRoche to accept or decline their reported three-year, $21 million offer has caused the Orioles to “renew talks with Derrek Lee,” according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun.
Zrebiec reports that a deal with LaRoche was believed to be imminent at one point, but now the two sides are at an “impasse” for unknown reasons. He speculates that LaRoche is either holding out for more money or simply “doesn’t want to play in Baltimore.”
In either case the Orioles might be better off signing Lee to a one-year deal anyway. LaRoche is a solid enough player, but a slightly above average first baseman isn’t worth a three-year commitment at that type of money and there’s a strong chance Lee will be the more valuable first baseman in 2011.
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 I’d certainly take my chances on Lee for one year before going anywhere near LaRoche for three years.
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.
Peter Gammons reported yesterday that the Red Sox had agreed to a contract with Matt Albers, while “a source familiar with the negotiations” told Alex Speier of WEEI.com that the deal is “getting closer” but “not done yet.”
Albers was non-tendered earlier this month by the Orioles, who didn’t want to keep him despite a projected salary that likely would have been around $1 million or so in 2011.
He had a 4.62 ERA in 193 innings spread over three seasons in Baltimore, but posted a sub par 124/92 K/BB ratio while allowing opponents to hit .274.
However, as a ground-ball guy with an average fastball that clocked in at 92.5 miles per hour this season the 27-year-old right-hander could be a useful middle relief option if his control improves.
Non-tendered by the Blue Jays because they didn’t want to give him a raise on his 2010 salary of $1.08 million, Jeremy Accardo has signed a one-year deal with the Orioles worth … $1.08 million.
Accardo had a breakout season for the Blue Jays in 2007, saving 30 games with a 2.14 ERA in 67 innings, but he’s thrown a grand total of just 44 innings in the three seasons since then thanks to arm problems and ineffectiveness.
He spent most of this year at Triple-A, where his nice-looking 3.48 ERA and 24 saves masked an underwhelming 26/15 K/BB ratio and .306 opponents’ batting average in 44 innings.
At his peak Accardo averaged 94-95 miles per hour with his fastball, but his average velocity was down to 92.8 mph in a handful of appearances with the Blue Jays this year.
Last week Baltimore reportedly offered Kevin Gregg a two-year, $8 million deal, but apparently that wasn’t enough because according to Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com the Orioles have upped their two-year offer to $12 million and Gregg is close to accepting.
Gregg racked up 37 saves for the Blue Jays this year for his fourth straight season with at least 20 saves, but his 3.79 ERA during that time isn’t particularly impressive and he blew six save chances this year to finish with a success rate of 86 percent that’s basically right at the MLB average.
Gregg is a decent setup man who’s apparently about to be paid like something a step or two above that because he’s gotten a chance to rack up saves in the past.
According to McDonald the Nationals and Red Sox are also in the mix for Gregg, who would presumably compete for ninth-inning duties with Koji Uehara if he indeed opts to join the Orioles.