BALTIMORE – First baseman Derrek Lee finalized a $7.25 million, one-year contract Thursday with the Baltimore Orioles, who hope he can provide punch to a lineup that ranked 21st in home runs last season.
The 35-year-old free agent, who can earn an additional $2.75 million in performance bonuses, had 19 homers and 80 RBIs in 148 games with the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves last year. He has 312 career home runs, including 35 with the Cubs in 2009.
Luke Scott led the Orioles last season with 27 homers. First baseman Ty Wigginton (22) was the only other player to top 20. Lee has hit at least 20 home runs in nine of the last 11 seasons.
The two-time NL All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner agreed to terms last week and signed a contract after passing a physical. Lee fills the void left by the departure of Wigginton, who signed as a free agent with Colorado.
Lee can earn an additional $500,000 each for 400 and 500 plate appearances, and $250,000 each for 425, 450, 475, 525, 550, 575 and 600.