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Behind Enemy Lines

AL East Week in Review for January 29-February 4

Not a lot of action in the AL East last week, as the Orioles made two moves, and the Sox made one, as well as releasing a list of spring training invites. The Blue Jays and Yankees, meanwhile, were quiet.

Baltimore Orioles:

-The O's this week signed former Royals infielder Desi Relaford to a minor league contract with a spring training invite tucked in, possibly lining up a recourse for the O's if they trade Miguel Tejada. Relaford, 32, has been a busy little journeyman over his 14 year baseball career, playing in the organizations of Seattle (twice), Philadelphia, Kansas City, Colorado, San Diego, and the Mets. Relaford, known primarily for his defense, split last season between Colorado and their Triple A affiliate, and Toronto's AAA affiliate in Syracuse. Perhaps that has something to do with his .627 OPS. And keep in mind, he was playing in Denver, a mile above sea level. He has a .670 OPS over his major league playing career, and I suppose giving him a shot in the spring would be okay, but the O's better not rely on him for the starting job should Tejada depart.

-Meanwhile, those worker bees in the Baltimore front office earned their paycheck by signing OF Luis Matos to a one year, $1.6 million deal that avoids an arbitration showdown. Matos, whose OPS reached a happy medium between his too high 2003 number and too low 2004 number, begins next season as a cheap centerfielder for the O's, who have concentrated mostly on pitching this offseason. But while baseball is usually the antithesis of the saying 'you get what you pay for', Matos is exactly what his cheap salary implies....crap, and if the Orioles expect some magical year from someone with a career OPS below .700, then they are just a stupid as the two-headed baseball operations monster that ran the team that last few years.

Boston Red Sox:

-If you only visited this site once every week, you might guess that this is a Red Sox blog by the length of space which this column has devoted to them. Hell, I think we report more on the Sox than some blogs devoted to them do.

-Anyways, the Red Sox made a huge leap for stupidity this week by actually giving SS Alex Gonzalez (not our Alex Gonzalez) $3 million for one year to plug their shortstop hole. It honestly amazes me how the Sox could make one good move (the Brave and Indian trades) and then make some astronomically stupid move like this. What exactly are they looking for. Defense? Um, they have Alex Cora. Offense? You've got to be kidding me. In eight major league seasons, Gonzalez has had an OPS of over .750 a grand total of one time, and has had a .700+ OPS only one other time. Honestly, the guy has a .682 OPS lifetime. Did they lose out on the Desi Relaford sweepstakes or something? In terms of sheer stupidity, this might have taken the prize as the dumbest move of the offseason.

-The Sox have apparently closed offseason activity, so here is a full list of their spring training invites going into the spring:

IF Wille Harris
IF Trent Durrington
IF Luis Jimenez
IF Rodney Nye
IF Dustin Pedroia
IF Josh Pressley
IF Enrique Wilson
OF Luke Allen
OF Ron Calloway
OF Gabe Kapler
OF Tyler Minges
OF Dustin Mohr
C Ken Huckaby
P Tim Bausher
P Matt Ginter
P Jimmy Serrano
P Craig Breslow
P Mike Bumatay
P Mike Holtz
P Phil Seibel

-Names of note there include an important from the other Sox, Harris, Enrique Wilson, the former Pirate and, gulp, Yankee, retread Kapler, the former Twin, Mohr, and Huckaby, the former Blue Jay. Overall, it is not a bad class. Obviously a team like Boston doesn't usually have a lot of spots open for competition, so invites are usually just a formaility that will be cut week by week in the spring. We'll see if any of them make it.

New York Yankees:

-The Yankees had no news of note to report this week.

Toronto Blue Jays:

-The Blue Jays had no news of note to report last week.

Happy Birthday

-Here's wishing a Happy Birthday to AAA Durham pitching coach Joe Coleman, who turned 59 on Friday. The former Senator and Tiger pitched to a 3.69 lifetime ERA in almost 500 career games.

-News provided by The Hardball Times, stats provided by The Baseball Cube