While the Orioles haven't abandoned hope of signing free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche, their inability to get a deal done has prompted them to renew talks with Derrek Lee, according to multiple sources.
As of late last week, the Orioles' sole focus for their first base vacancy appeared to be on LaRoche, who hit 25 homers and drove in 100 runs for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season. An agreement with the left-handed hitter was believed to be imminent, though the two sides have been unable to agree on a deal.
It's unclear whether that is because LaRoche is reportedly seeking a three-year deal while the Orioles would prefer not giving him three guaranteed years, or LaRoche simply has better, more lucrative offers, and doesn't want to play in Baltimore.
Either way, the renewed talks this week with Lee's agent, Casey Close, would appear to indicate that the Orioles aren't as confident as they once were in signing LaRoche.
If the Orioles cannot sign either LaRoche or Lee, they could shift their focus to adding a designated hitter, such as Vladimir Guerrero or Jim Thome, and then moving Luke Scott or Nolan Reimold to first base. That, however, wouldn't be their first choice as manager Buck Showalter is a strong proponent in having good defense at first base.
Both LaRoche and Lee are considered above-average defensive players.
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