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Alex S. Gonzalez signs with the D-Rays


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01/05/2005 4:08 PM ET

Rays ink infielder Gonzalez

Longtime shortstop will move to third base in 2005

By Paul C. Smith / MLB.com



Alex Gonzalez played with the Cubs, Expos and Padres in 2004. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)




ST. PETERSBURG -- The Devil Rays signed infielder Alex Gonzalez to a one-year deal on Wednesday with the intention of playing him at third base this season.

The signing is pending a physical and terms were not released.


Gonzalez, 30, made his Major League debut with the Blue Jays in 1994 and played excellent defense for them for the next seven seasons.


Gonzalez was traded to the Cubs on Dec. 10, 2001, and spent two seasons in Chicago, hitting 18 homers in 2002 and 20 homers in 2003.


Last season, he hit a combined .225 with the Cubs, Expos and Padres, with seven home runs and 27 RBIs. He began the season with the Cubs, but missed two months with a broken right wrist. Right after he returned, the Cubs traded him to the Expos in a four-way deal that ended with Nomar Garciaparra in Chicago. Gonzalez was then hit on the left wrist while with the Expos. On Sept. 17, he was traded to the Padres.


The 6-foot, 200-pound native of Miami has played mostly shortstop throughout his career, but with Julio Lugo set there for the Rays will move to third base.


"We like him as a third baseman,'' said Rays general manager Chuck LaMar. "He's had an outstanding career as a shortstop, but we feel at this point in his career he will make a smooth adjustment to third. We also feel that with him coming back to the American League, his offensive production will increase. He will give our team a nice veteran presence.''


LaMar also said he had a number of other potential deals in the works but declined to be specific. The Rays have shown keen interest in several other free agents, including outfielders Danny Bautista and Juan Gonzalez and first baseman Travis Lee.


Paul C. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Terrible move for the D-Rays, just awful. Sign mediocrety to block your good young players (Upton). What a joke. For a bit more they could have had much better players in Grudz and Cora, who could have played 2B with Cantu moving to 3rd. What's worse is Gonzalez is mediocre offensively for a SS, flat out terrible for a 3B. Oh, the good news doesn't stop here D-Ray fans, according to rotoworld the Rays may sign Cora or even Miguel Cairo to play 2B and make Cantu the UTIF :plain

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