Derrek Lee, 1B
The Baltimore Orioles entered the 2011 offseason with first base in their sights. The Orioles failed to lure Victor Martinez to Baltimore. With their main target off the board, the O's took no chances and filled their hole at first by signing veteran first baseman Derrek Lee.
The Orioles failure to sign Martinez could pay great dividends, as Baltimore avoided being tied down to a ridiculous contract.
Also, with their new first baseman, the Orioles can possibly could look to upgrade at first whether before the trading deadline in July or when next year’s free agency rolls around and potential free agents Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols hit the market.
But with the 2011 season in focus, Derrek Lee gives Baltimore its first complete first baseman since Rafael Palmeiro during the '90s.
Lee, 35 year-old, brings a winning mentality to the Orioles lineup and help secure the “3” spot in the Orioles lineup, which has been almost as much of a mystery for the Orioles as the cleanup spot has been.
In 2010, the first baseman was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Atlanta Braves. The trade never panned out for Lee or the Braves offensively.
Although, he only hit three home runs with the Braves compared to the 16 he hit with the Cubs, Lee did hit .287/.384/.465 in 39 games with the Braves compared to when he hit .251/.335/.416 with the Cubs before the trade.
Career wise, Lee has hit .282/.367/.498 with 312 home runs and 1,019 RBI.
Although he has produced solid numbers in the National League, Lee has yet to play in the American League, let alone the AL East.
With that said, Lee will likely not be pitched around as much as he was while in the NL. He will benefit from having an extra bat and with a more balanced lineup in 2011.
Predicting exact or even reasonable statistics can become tough because of what is noted above, not to mention his recent thumb surgery.
However, with a balanced lineup top-to-bottom, Lee will not be relied upon as he has in past.:
Prediction: .279 AVG/ 25 HR/ 88 RBI
On Deck: Vladimir Guerrero
In the Hole: Luke Scott