Looking back and ahead

This was my last morning to sleep late before school starts up again and I’m rolling out of bed at 6:30 a.m.

I think the Christmas break should start the day after Thanksgiving and last until the day after the Super Bowl.

If I were king...

Not much to report today. The Orioles have scheduled a physical for Derrek Lee this week and will make him available to the local media once he’s passed it. He’ll say all the right things about the organization and the city of Baltimore. He won’t give the impression that he had few choices left and settled for the Orioles.

It also wouldn’t surprise me if the Orioles sign another reliever this week. Plenty of them remain on the market, and shouldn’t Kevin Gregg be making a decision relatively soon?

The Orioles’ shopping list is getting smaller. They’ve added a third baseman, shortstop and first baseman. They re-signed Cesar Izturis as a backup middle infielder and acquired another utility infielder, Brendan Harris, who could assist on the corners. They re-signed Koji Uehara and signed another late-inning reliever, Jeremy Accardo.

They want at least one more bullpen arm, and preferably two - a right-hander and a southpaw. They also would like to bring a veteran starter to camp.

I’ve been asked multiple times about the possibility of signing a designated hitter such as Vladimir Guerrero or Jim Thome. I can’t see that happening with Luke Scott on the roster.

Lee’s signing eliminated the already slim possibility that Scott would move to first base. He’s presently locked in as the designated hitter. I don’t envision the Orioles spending on Guerrero and using him in a platoon with Scott. Thome and Scott bat from the left side.

It just don’t see any matches here.

A full-time DH was a possibility if Scott moved to first. It only becomes a possibility now if Scott is moved to another organization.

I’ve also been asked about Carl Pavano. I’m told that if the Orioles add a pitcher, it won’t be a marquee free agent. Pavano qualifies among the remaining arms on the market. And they’re not going to fork over a three-year deal in the $30 million-plus range, if that’s what it takes to secure him.

Pavano might have to settle for a two-year deal. It won’t come from the Orioles. He’s expected to choose between the Twins and Nationals.

It’s amazing how his stock has risen again. It wasn’t long ago that the idea of signing Pavano for one year would have made you double over in laughter. We remembered how the Orioles rolled out the orange carpet while courting him in the winter of 2004, and were thankful that he signed with the Yankees.

Now he’s coming off a 17-win season and looking for a three-year contract.

I’ve also been asked why it took Lee so long to agree to terms with the Orioles. I can’t climb inside his head, but it’s obvious that he held out for a better deal, preferably from a contender who plays on the West Coast. He didn’t have many suitors as we approached the New Year, and the Orioles’ deal reportedly includes incentives that could push its value to around $10 million.

He’ll try to put together a season comparable to 2009 and re-enter the market. And the Orioles could benefit in multiple ways. They’re a better team if he’s hitting like we’ve seen in the past, and assuming they’re not in contention, he could be a valuable chip at the non-waiver trade deadline.

It will be interesting to track Lee and Adam LaRoche in 2011. It’s hard to separate the two anymore.

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