5 Most-Improved MLB Teams for 2012

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Thirty baseball teams will tell you they got better this winter.

Most of them are lying.

Delicate turns of phrase like “we got younger” and “we’re expecting big things out of our returning guys” translate in real speak to “we failed to improve, but hope you’ll by tickets anyway.”

The five teams on this list, however, can make that claim to progress with a clear conscience.

Through free agency, trade and the inflow of prospects, they’ve bettered their playoff odds or, in some cases, gone from fringe contention to Vegas darling.

The lying teams should take note—this is what improvement looks like. It costs money, it takes risks, it requires the right combination of patient development and strategic splurging.

If some blueprint for getting better exists, these teams have it. Because they can look back on what they had one year ago and know, in full clarity, that today is indeed a brighter day.

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