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Some of the comments that showed up after I wrote about the Chad Moeller signing make me wonder just how fair it is to nitpick the Orioles front office about their minor moves with two months left in the offseason.

There is understandable frustration that the Orioles don't appear likely to sign free agent superstar Mark Teixeria, but that is totally unrelated to the everyday housekeeping moves that ever team makes while assembling their rosters for spring training.

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The Orioles were looking for some veteran catching depth, so they signed Moeller to a minor league contract. He's not expected to be the starter on Opening Day. Club president Andy MacPhail confirmed to me last night that the team still is looking at several other veteran catchers. Don't be surprised if Gregg Zaun or Matt Treanor gets signed in the next few days.

None of the moves that were made during the winter meetings were major moves, but they were necessary and MacPhail proved again to be pretty adept of getting what he wants and fitting it into his plan. In essense, the Orioles got speedy Ryan Freel and two prospects for Ramon Hernandez (who had worn out his welcome in Baltimore) and saved enough money (about $3.5 million) to cover the first year's salary of free agent shortstop Cesar Izturis.

So, in effect, he traded Hernandez for all those guys. Pretty smooth.

The big-money free agent market is an entirely different arena, and is affected by entirely different factors. I'd certainly be impressed if Andy finds a way to sign Teixeira, but blaming him if Tex shies away from a team with 11 straight losing seasons -- when he's only halfway into the second year of his rebuilding plan -- just isn't fair or logical.

Of course, if the O's don't do anything else by the opening of spring training, that would be a different story.

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