Results tagged ‘ Adam LaRoche ’

Thoughts on Simon, Lee, LaRoche relievers

First, a happy and healthy New Year to all of you. Sorry for the slacking on blog entries here, but I’ve been trying to finish up my move to Baltimore. Usually, the holidays provide an ideal time for a beat reporter because it’s slower news-wise. But that hasn’t been the case for the O’s, as they reached a verbal agreement with Derrek Lee and have some serious issues coming out of the Dominican Republic.

*Yesterday saw some terribly tragic news with potential ramifications far beyond the baseball realm for Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon. Simon is the main suspect in a murder, although he has said he is innocent.

I’ve talked and exchanged texts with several of the Orioles players and team officials, and it’s certainly news that has shaken -and shocked – the organization. Simon was a pretty quiet guy in the clubhouse, but was well-liked and lauded for his efforts in the bullpen when Koji Uehara, Jim Johnson and Michael Gonzalez were hurt.  Although details are still emerging, I’d expect some sort of team statement today on the matter. News like this really puts baseball in perspective, doesn’t it?

*As for agreeing to terms with Lee, who will likely get his physical on Wednesday, I like the move. It’s a one-year deal with incentives that reportedly can get up to $10 million and the feeling is Lee and Mark Reynolds -who are both known to be tough, gritty players – will help add some pop to the lineup and some intensity to the O’s clubhouse. Both Reynolds and Lee played though injuries last season and -in addition to shoring up the corner infield defense – they are both outstanding guys to have around in terms of work ethic and, in manager Buck Showalter-speak, “want to”.

Signing Lee also makes Luke Scott the O’s regular DH, although a scenario where Lee and Scott switch once or twice a week wouldn’t surprise me.  

*I’ve gotten a lot of questions on what happened with Adam LaRoche negotiations, and the feeling in the front office was that, in the end, LaRoche didn’t want to come to Baltimore.

The O’s were very interested in LaRoche, but MASN.com’s report about a three-year deal being on the table was simply not true. Multiple sources -and several other media outlets in addition to MLB.com — confirmed there was never a three-year offer formally extended to LaRoche.

I had one source close to negotiations tell me that the Orioles were even hesitant to give LaRoche a two-year deal over a one-year offer to Lee. That should make those of you who were outraged at the idea of locking up LaRoche long term feel much, much better.

This is all (finally) over and –pending a physical — the Orioles have a legitimate first baseman in three-time Gold Glover winner Lee.

*Now what? The Orioles would still like another bat off the bench, a veteran starter and another catcher before heading to Spring Training, which is literally around the corner.

But the bullpen–especially with Simon in limbo–remains a top priority. The O’s have an offer out to right-hander Kevin Gregg and they would like to add a right-hander and a lefty to the current ‘pen. Losing Simon would give them another right-handed hole to fill. It could also make Grant Balfour a more enticing choice. The Orioles are interested, but as of Monday had not put a formal offer out to Balfour, who is a Type-A free agent and would cost the O’s their second-round Draft pick.

*Finally, I’m working on an Orioles inbox for Tuesday, so send any and all Orioles questions to brittany.ghiroli@mlb.com and include your name and hometown. Or send me a question on Twitter.  Thanks!

On Konerko…

The Orioles have made a “significant offer” to free agent Paul Konerko, according to Sirius XM’s Jim Bowden. Konerko is coming off a great season with the White Sox in which he hit .312 with 39 homers and 111 RBIs. He’s also a better defender than he’s given credit for and a great clubhouse guy.

But don’t get too excited yet. While it’s good to know the O’s are being aggressive –not just talking about being aggressive — Konerko has turned down the O’s before and there are indications that he will again. A source close to the situation said Konerko would prefer to play somewhere that trains in Arizona, where he can live at home for part of the year. He could also wait until fellow free agent slugger Adam Dunn is off the board to increase his options and market value.

The White Sox, where he spent the last dozen years, are still in the mix to bring back Konerko and Texas and the Diamonbacks are among those rumored to have interest. Konerko has said on the record that contract length isn’t that important to him, and there’s speculation that he’s not the type to choose the most money at this point in his career.

He left a lot of money on the table back in 2005 and could do it again.

Those that follow me on Twitter know he’s my top choice. It appears that with Victor Martinez off the market, he’s the Orioles top target as well.

The Orioles will not comment on negotiations –especially with MLB’s new rules to crack down on negotiating in the media — but their top priority is a power-hitting corner infielder, making free agents like Adrian Beltre, Carlos Pena, Derrek Lee, Adam LaRoche and Adam Dunn all plausible targets. 

Report: V-Mart off the market

Ignacio Serrano, a reporter for Venezuela’s El Nacional, reported this morning that Victor Martinez is closing in on a four-year, $50 million contract with the Tigers.

According to Serrano, the Tigers outbid the Red Sox, White Sox and Orioles, who reportedly offered V-Mart four years at $48 million. Martinez would have been a great acquisition for the O’s given his power at the plate, versatility (they could have used him at first base, DH and to backup catcher Matt Wieters) and veteran experience.

This report should at least show some restless fans that the Orioles are making offers, even if most of them stay out of the media until after the fact. Martinez was a good fit but there were also indications that he wanted to catch full-time, which wouldn’t have been possible in Baltimore. Yes, the O’s were outbid. But their offer was hardly an arbitrary one.

Now the O’s must turn their attention elsewhere in filling a sorely-needed corner infield power bat, a list that includes Adrian Beltre, Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Adam LaRoche, and Carlos Pena, should they choose to go the free agent route. 

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