Does Ishikawa mean no LaRoche for Orioles?

Does Ishikawa mean no LaRoche for Orioles?
December 20, 2012, 8:30 am
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With Mark Reynolds gone, the Orioles are busily assembling candidates to replace him at first base. While lots of the talk in recent days has been about the team signing Adam LaRoche as a free agent, it seems as if they’re heading in a different direction.

On Wednesday, the Orioles signed Ishikawa, a 29-year-old first baseman to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Dan Duquette, the Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations especially likes the signing.

“He’s a good complement to our team,” Duquette said. “He’s a plus defender. He’s a solid player.”

Ishikawa is a lifetime .264 hitter. He’s played most of his career in San Francisco. In AT&T Park, a ballpark that’s not friendly to hitters, he batted .291 with a .343 on-base percentage.

Last year, with Milwaukee, Ishikawa batted .257 with four home runs and 30 RBIs.

The Orioles tried to sign Ishikawa a year ago, but Duquette says: “He’s a better fit now.”

In trying to replace Reynolds who signed with Cleveland, the Orioles can try Chris Davis at first as well as Ishikawa. Both are left-handed hitters. Earlier this month, Duquette signed the right-handed hitting Conor Jackson, a seven-year big league veteran, to a minor league contract. He can play first base as well as the outfield.

It doesn’t look as if the Orioles are eager to sign LaRoche. At 33, a three-year deal and losing a first-round draft pick seems to be a deterrent to Baltimore.