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.
Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.
ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:
Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”
Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.