O’s lose out on LaRoche; 1st base try-outs open to the public

January 14, 2010 | Drew Forrester

Adam LaRoche joined an elite club on Thursday when he signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He etched his name on a long list of available players who have kicked sand in the Orioles’ face over the last 12 months or so…and this one stings more than most others because the Birds really could have used LaRoche.

Oddly, LaRoche’s signing – reportedly for $5 million although I find that number hard to believe – would normally fit in perfectly with the O’s wish-list:  Cheap and short-term.

I wonder why they didn’t sign LaRoche?

Oh, I know:  They didn’t make a decent enough offer, that’s why.

Meanwhile, opening day is less than 11 weeks away and the team still doesn’t have a reputable, proven first baseman on its roster.  LaRoche would have been that guy.

Who’s left?

They can sign brittle, aging Carlos Delgado.  He’ll probably give them at least 40 games at first base until he needs a knee replacement or his arthritis medication turns up on baseball’s banned substance list.

Russell Branyan is available as well.  The only problem there?  You have to add 20 feet to the dugout at Camden Yards so all those strikeouts Russell brings to town can sit next to him on the bench.

Branyan is likely to be the guy the O’s sign.  He’s 34 and he doesn’t have a team.  That makes him ultra-attractive to the O’s, who can probably offer a combination of a monthly stipend and free dry cleaning to woo the K-Machine to Charm City.

Branyan might be the first guy the O’s ever pay by the hour.

Hey, don’t laugh.  I’m sure they’ve thought of it.

Wait, maybe they should just bite the bullet and pay a bunch of money to Mark Teixeira.  He’s a high quality player…equally adept in the field and at the plate.  He’ll want a lot of money, but you have to pay the best players the most money if you want to win.

Never mind…I forgot, the Yankees scarfed him up LAST winter.

So the off-season rolls on and the O’s are apparently going to leave runners stranded on the corners once again.

Andy MacPhail’s late September promise of “we’re going to buy some bats” is looking more and more like either an outright fib or a “shucks, we just missed the guy we wanted” tall tale.

Either way, the O’s are without a first baseman.  Or, at least, one that can actually handle the position professionally for 162 games.

They do have Garrett Atkins in the fold and despite the fact he’s not REALLY a true first baseman, they can always shove the big mitt in his locker in five weeks and tell him to “make us proud” on opening day.

If that happens, who plays third base? Never mind, we can’t worry about that right now.

FanFest is just around the corner.

Bring your first baseman’s mitt.

The position is still open.