The Baltimore Orioles have finally reached terms with a first baseman for the 2011 season, signing on 2 time all-star Derrek Lee. With a career batting average of .282 and fielding percentage of .994, Lee brings 14 years of veteran leadership to a young core hoping to make strides this coming season.
Starting his career in San Diego, then being traded shortly after to Florida, Lee has spent the bulk of his playing time on the Marlins and Cubs. During the middle of the 2010 season, Lee was traded from the Cubs to the Braves during the last year of his contract for some prospects, in which the Braves hoped he would help them make a push in the postseason. His most recent stats from last year with the Braves are .287/.384/.465 in 39 games with the team, legging out 14 doubles and 3 home runs in 129 at bats.
Lee brings a lot of experience to the table. With 3 Gold Glove Awards and one Silver Slugger, seeing his best season in 2005 when he hit .335 with 48 HRs, 50 doubles, and 107 RBIs and lead the entire MLB in hits, average, slugging percentage (.662), OPS (1.080), OPS+ (174), and total bases (393). That year, he finished 3rd in MVP voting.
Orioles fans can just hope that Lee can give them one solid year that can look similar to his 2009 season (.306/.393/.579, 35 HRs, 111 RBIs), though he’s only hit 30+ home runs in one of the last four seasons. With a physical scheduled in Baltimore on Wednesday, the official signing will most likely happen later this week. His contract is laid out to be for one year and somewhere in the $8-$10 million range.