2011 Baltimore Orioles: First Base

Out with the old, in with the new.  Essentially that’s what Andy MacPhail and Buck Showalter are saying by replacing 3 of 4 starters in the infield from last season.  The biggest splash – although J.J. Hardy was a good upgrade – was adding 1B Derrek Lee.  Lee played with the Cubs and Braves last season, a career .282 hitter with 19 home runs a year ago.  Compare that to Ty Wigginton, the Orioles 1B last season, who hit .248 but 22 homers.

The Orioles add Derrek Lee for his defense as much as his offense.  He is an excellent defensive first baseman, and a proven leader and winner.

He is, however, coming off a minor injury that will be something to “keep an eye on.”

I like the addition of Lee, but I think they didn’t really upgrade the position, just delayed the inevitable gap there is in the farm system at 1B.  Derrek Lee is sufficient, but is not the power first baseman a la Pujols or Fielder that the Orioles (fans?) covet next offseason.

Grade: C+

Stay tuned this week for 2B and SS as we journey along the O’s position-by-position.

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