Lee agrees to terms

A team official has confirmed that the Orioles reached verbal agreement with free-agent first baseman Derrek Lee on a contract for 2011.

The signing will become official once Lee passes a physical.

Various reports have placed the Orioles’ offer at one year for around $8 million.

Lee was willing to accept a one-year deal, while Adam LaRoche continued to seek three guaranteed years. The Orioles decided recently to move on without LaRoche and intensified talks with Lee’s agent, Casey Close.

The market for Lee and LaRoche was shrinking fast. The Nationals posed the greatest competition for both players. The Padres signed Brad Hawpe and will seek another player to serve in a platoon role.

Lee, 35, hit .260 with 35 doubles, 19 homers and 80 RBIs in 148 games with the Cubs and Braves. He underwent surgery on his right thumb after the season.

The Orioles have long coveted Lee and almost completed a trade for him in the winter of 2003 before he wound up with the Cubs.

Three-fourths of the Orioles’ infield will be new in 2011, including third baseman Mark Reynolds and shortstop J.J. Hardy.

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