Since Albert Pujols is signed and Yu Darvish knows the locale of his winning bid, it is safe to say we’ve probably passed the apex of this hot stove season. Granted, Prince Fielder is still looming on the market, and there is always a chance of a blockbuster deal that blows our collective baseball minds, but for the most part the big fish have been netted.
With that being said, the time seems right to take a deep breath, and take a look back at the transactions that have occurred so far. So here you are folks – here are your offseason’s top ten moves to date….
10. The Detroit Tigers sign Octavio Dotel -
The Motor City inked the 38-year-old right-hander to a one-year deal worth $3.5 million dollar deal with an option for 2013. The Tigers Achilles heel in 2011 was middle relief, and Dotel will certainly help the cause bringing some experience to a pen that is very young outside of Valverde and Benoit. The move was made even more important once seventh inning guy Al Aburquerque needed elbow surgery and is slated to miss half of 2012.
9. The Kansas City Royals trade for Jonathan Sanchez -
Nope, Sanchez is not the pitcher many hoped he would be early in his career, but the veteran can still come into Kansas City and pitch some quality innings as the team matures into contending from. Melky Cabrera will be missed as new center fielder Lorenzo Cain gets his feet wet, but the rotation needed this type of boost badly.
8. The Philadelphia Phillies re-up Jimmy Rollins -
With teams routinely overspending money on players this offseason, J Roll stayed in the city of brotherly love for a modest 3/38. Without a whole lot of guys out there at the shortstop position, it was imperative the Phillies reached an agreement with Rollins.
7. The Minnesota Twins sign Josh Willingham -
There are two parts to this story really. Half of the reason this contract is great for the Twins is the fact they allowed Michael Cuddyer to walk. The Rockies signed Cuddyer to a three-year $31.5 million deal while the Twins locked up Willingham for $21 million (three years). Essentially the Twins are saving $10.5 million on a player most people would consider the better hitter of the two.
6. The Miami Marlins sign Jose Reyes -
Hopefully for the fish, the signing of Reyes takes the organization a step closer to developing a winning culture in Southern Florida. The starting pitching may still need work, but their new shortstop is certainly a superstar, and for $106 million dollars, there’s a decent chance this contract turns into a bargain for the
Marlins. If I had to bet though, I’d say the Marlins trade him before this deal runs out.
5. The Milwaukee Brewers sign Aramis Ramirez -
With Prince Fielder’s odds of staying in Milwaukee at about 1% coupled with Ryan Braun’s pending 50-game suspension, the Brewers were entering scary times. The Brew-Crew added their new third-baseman almost out of necessity, and despite the fact they were desperate, the 3/36 contract seems fairly reasonable.
4. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim sign Albert Pujols -
The contract will inevitably turn into a nightmare, and there was clearly nothing about this deal resembling a savvy nature, but the Angels can still pump their fists all winter knowing they have the game’s greatest hitter locked up for the rest of his career. Hopefully for the Angels, Pujols can win a title in Southern California, which would probably make the ten-year $254 million deal seem a bit more worth it.
3. The Toronto Blue Jays trade for Sergio Santos -
The Blue Jays scooped a closer entering the prime of his career for a minor league pitcher who most scouts believe doesn’t have the stuff to match his shiny numbers from 2011. Sergio Santos is locked up through 2014, and during that time frame will only cost the Jays $8.25 million. Ladies and gentleman, say hello to this winter’s most lopsided trade.
2. The Tampa Bay Rays extend Matt Moore -
This 22-year-old is the real deal. After pitching 19 innings in the big leagues, the Rays decided they had seen enough and locked this kid up to a very team-friendly deal. Surely this displays some level of risk on Tampa’s behalf, but odds are Moore will provide enough value in 2012 to make the entire contract worth it.
1. The Chicago Cubs hire Theo Epstein as their new President of Operations -
The last time the Cubs won it all Moses was gathering up two types of every species together on the same boat. But now, with the 37-year-old Epstein, there is reason for hope. Theo helped Boston win its first title in 86 years, only to duplicate the feat three years later. Epstein is one of the brightest young minds in baseball, and after what went down in Boston last year, he might just have a chip on his shoulder.
You can follow Mickey Brignall on Twitter @mickey_baseball