This week, every team in Major League Baseball will begin reporting to spring training camps across the states of Florida and Arizona.
Over a billion dollars was committed to free agents this past offseason, and several key players found themselves with new homes. This past offseason can certainly be characterized as productive, to say the least.
However, did every team succeed in their overall offseason goals? Here is a look at the activity of each team heading into spring training, including grades for each club.
2011 Team Payroll: $55,889,833
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $70,984,166
Arrivals: Trevor Cahill SP, Jason Kubel OF, Takashi Saito RP, Craig Breslow RP
Departures: Jason Marquis SP
To say that Arizona Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers had a busy offseason would clearly be putting it mildly. On the heels of a 29-win improvement last season, along with an NL West Division title, Towers clearly saw the need to upgrade and go all in for 2012.
Losing Jarrod Parker in the Cahill deal certainly hurt, but considering the wealth of pitching prospects already in the system, it was a gamble worth taking.
Towers also re-signed middle infielders John McDonald and Willie Bloomquist as well as left-handed starter Joe Saunders to a somewhat reasonable $6 million deal.
Analysis: The signing of Kubel was bit curious, given the fact that the D-Backs have a Gold Glove left fielder in Gerardo Parra, along with Chis Young and Justin Upton. The additions of Cahill, Breslow and Saito deepen an already solid pitching staff, and McDonald and Bloomquist provide depth in case SS Stephen Drew's rehab from a season-ending ankle injury is delayed.
2011 Team Payroll: $92,202,417
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $82,301,667
Departures: Derek Lowe SP, Nate McClouth OF, George Sherrill RP, Alex Gonzalez SS
Life in the NL East certainly became much more interesting over the offseason, as the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals made significant upgrades to their rosters, and the Philadelphia Phillies added a proven veteran closer.
As for the Atlanta Braves, it was more a case of addition by subtraction. They freed up space in their starting rotation by dealing Lowe to the Cleveland Indians, banking on either Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado, Mike Minor or Arodys Vizcaino to fill his role. Tyler Pastorncky is being counted on to fill the gap at shortstop, with veteran Jack Wilson there to mentor him and step in if Pastornicky falls flat.
Analysis: GM Frank Wren clearly likes the make-up of his team despite its frenzied free-fall in September. With a developing stable of starters, a great tandem in the bullpen with Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters, a full season with Michael Bourn in the leadoff spot and the continued development of Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward, Wren saw no need in remaking a roster he feels can contend in 2012.
Wren's inactivity this offseason will either prove to be a genius move or a shortsighted failure.
2011 Team Payroll: $86,989,250
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $65,671,667
Arrivals: Wei-Yin Chen SP, Tsuyoshi Wada SP, Jason Hammel SP, Matt Lindstrom RP, Wilson Betemit 3B, Endy Chavez OF, Taylor Teagarden C
Departures: Vladimir Guerrero DH, Luke Scott OF, Cesar Izturis SS, Jeremy Guthrie SP
New Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette obviously loves a big challenge, and he'll certainly get one with the Orioles and owner Peter Angelos.
Rumors recently circulated that Angelos was interested in selling the team, but the chatter was shot down by an Orioles official. While O's fans can certainly have some fun with that tidbit of news, Duquette is still left with trying to turn around a franchise that has now seen 14 consecutive losing seasons.
Based on the moves made this offseason, that certainly won't happen in 2012.
Analysis: Signing Asian imports to the starting rotation may seem refreshing, but neither Chen nor Wada are expected to be the saviors of the franchise. Betemit will get plenty of looks at DH, but all in all, there isn't one name added to the roster that spells instant improvement for the O's.
2011 Team Payroll: $165,321,476
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $167,427,619
Arrivals: Andrew Bailey RP, Cody Ross OF, Ryan Sweeney OF, Nick Punto SS, Mark Melancon RP, Kelly Shoppach C
Departures: Jonathan Papelbon RP, J.D. Drew OF, Tim Wakefield SP, Dan Wheeler RP, Trever Miller RP, Marco Scutaro SS, Jed Lowrie SS, Josh Reddick OF, Jason Varitek C
The arrivals and departures listed above certainly don't tell the whole story for the offseason of the Boston Red Sox.
The biggest departures took place in the front office, with GM Theo Epstein headed to Chicago and manager Terry Francona headed to the broadcast, ironically to take the place of the man who succeeds him in Boston, Bobby Valentine.
New GM Ben Cherington addressed the loss of Jonathan Papelbon with the trade that brought closer Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney into town for right fielder Josh Reddick, and Cherington countered the loss of Reddick with the signing of Cody Ross, who, together with Sweeney, will likely platoon in right field. The addition of ex-Astros closer Mark Melancon helps with bullpen depth, especially with former set-up man Daniel Bard moving into the rotation.
Analysis: I'm not nearly as pessimistic about Boston's offseason than others seem to be. A healthy Kevin Youkilis will certainly help add beef back into the lineup, Ryan Lavarnway could be a very welcome addition, and Ross' offense could reemerge with a hitter-friendly Fenway.
Still, Valentine will have a challenge on his hands trying to smooth out a clubhouse culture that was very much in disarray last season.
2011 Team Payroll: $134,329,000
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $99,472,500
Arrivals: David DeJesus OF, Anthony Rizzo 1B, Ian Stewart 3B, Paul Maholm SP, Chris Volstad SP, Manuel Corpas RP, Travis Wood SP
Departures: Carlos Zambrano SP, Aramis Ramirez 3B, Carlos Pena 1B, John Grabow RP, Sean Marshall RP, Andrew Cashner RP, Tyler Colvin OF
Unfortunately for hopeful Cubs fans, new President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and new GM Jed Hoyer did not make a huge splash in their first offseason on the North Side.
The biggest signing of the winter turned out to be a $10 million deals for outfielder David DeJesus. While Cubs fans hoped for Prince Fielder, that simply wasn't going to happen under the new regime and their long-term outlook. Hoyer did bring in highly-touted prospect Anthony Rizzo from his former club, but there's no guarantee that he'll come anywhere near the production levels of Fielder at this point.
Maholm, Volstad and Wood will join Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Randy Wells in the starting rotation, but it's not a rotation that reeks of instant success.
Analysis: In terms of this past offseason, it's difficult at best to say the Cubs improved much, if any. However, the current mantra for the new regime is "Trust in Our Future." However, that future doesn't include the 2012 season.
2011 Team Payroll: $127,789,000
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $91,750,000
Arrivals: Kosuke Fukudome OF
Departures: Mark Buehrle SP, Juan Pierre OF, Carlos Quentin OF, Jason Frasor RB, Sergio Santos RP, Omar Vizquel SS
To say that what Chicago White Sox GM Kenny Williams did this offseason was puzzling is akin to saying that Ozzie Guillen was just a tad emotional.
Williams wasted no time in replacing Guillen with former Sox third baseman Robin Ventura, a man with absolutely no managerial experience whatsoever.
Then, there was confusion as to whether or not the White Sox were rebuilding, retooling, reworking, remaking or whatever other re's you can think of.
The trade of closer Sergio Santos to the Toronto Blue Jays seemed to indicate rebuilding, but the return on the deal was very minimal, and Santos was still under team control for four more years. Chalk up curious deal No. 1.
Then, Williams signs starter John Danks to a five-year, $65 million contract. Certainly seems odd if the team is rebuilding, right? Chalk up curious deal No. 2.
Next, Carlos Quentin is traded in exchange for two pitching prospects from the San Diego Padres, but neither of them scream "top-tier." Chalk up curious deal No. 3.
Finally, reliever Jason Frasor is dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays, netting two more pitching prospects who likely won't help out for quite a while. End of curious deals.
Analysis: It's going to be another long season on the South Side. Sox fans had better hope and pray that the Sox's bloated payroll players, Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Jake Peavy, play up to their capabilities. Otherwise, you'll be forced to listen to Hawk Harrelson droning on all season long about nothing.
2011 Team Payroll: $80,826,667
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $80,989,167
Arrivals: Mat Latos SP, Ryan Ludwick OF, Ryan Madson RP, Sean Marshall RP, Wilson Valdez IF, Willie Harris UTIL
Departures: Edinson Volquez SP, Yonder Alonso OF, Ramon Hernandez C, Francisco Cordero RP, Dontrelle Willis RP, Edgar Renteria SS, Travis Wood SP
The Cincinnati Reds were fully expected to contend in the NL Central after winning the title in surprising fashion in 2010. However, they fell flat on their faces, falling to 79-83. So, GM Walt Jocketty decided to get busy during the offseason.
In a division that saw a significant downgrade due to free agent departures, Jocketty pounced, landing San Diego Padres starter Mat Latos and Chicago Cubs swingman Sean Marshall. Jocketty gave up five promising prospects in the two deals, but the payoff could be significant if the Reds capitalize now.
Analysis: Give Jocketty credit—he upgraded the starting rotation and back end of the bullpen (Madson, Marhsall) and brought in depth guys (Madson, Valdez, Harris) without having to significantly raise payroll. In a division that no longer has Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, the Reds are a viable entity once again.
2011 Team Payroll: $49,426,567
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $56,365,000
Arrivals: Derek Lowe SP, Casey Kotchmann 1B, Kevin Slowey SP, Dan Wheeler RP, Jon Garland SP
Departures: Jim Thome DH, Kosuke Fukudome OF
The Cleveland Indians just may be the biggest enigma in terms of success/failure in 2012, but a lot will depend on one key factor—health.
Adding Lowe should help the rotation, and Ubaldo Jimenez will be at the top of that rotation for his first full year, hopefully returning to early 2010 form. The addition of Wheeler will help in support of closer Chris Perez, and if Kotchman can come anywhere close to his 2011 slash line of .306/.378/.422, that will be a big help as well.
The biggest factors will be the health of Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner. If either or both miss significant chunks of time, the Tribe will be fighting to stay out of the cellar.
Analysis: Garland is a low-risk/high-reward signing, although it has yet to be made official. Slowey basically just adds depth, but certainly not quality, and Kotchman was a consolation-prize signing after missing out on Carlos Pena.
2011 Team Payroll: $82,311,404
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $73,853,571
Arrivals: Jeremy Guthrie SP, Michael Cuddyer OF, Casey Blake 3B, Marco Scutaro 2B, Ramon Hernandez C, Tyler Colvin OF, Guillermo Moscoso SP, Tyler Chatwood SP, Josh Outman SP
Departures: Mark Ellis 2B, Ryan Spilborghs OF, Aaron Cook SP, Kevin Millwood SP, Chris Ianetta C, Ian Stewart 3B, Ty Wiggington 3B, Seth Smith OF, Jason Hammel SP, Matt Lindstrom RP, Huston Street RP
In terms of sheer numbers alone, there was no team more active this offseason than the Colorado Rockies. Whether or not the numbers add up to success is anyone's guess.
General manager Dan O'Dowd called last season "an utter disappointment." After signing superstars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez to substantial long-term contract extensions equaling almost $200 million, they both suffered what can only be considered down seasons. Couple that with an ineffective starting rotation and near-zero production out of second and third base, and therein lies the root of Colorado's problems.
O'Dowd certainly went out and made a statement bringing in veterans Casey Blake, Marco Scutaro, Ramon Hernandez and Michael Cuddyer to bolster the offense and an array of pitchers who will be vying to join the starting rotation. Rafael Betancourt will now take over full-time closing duties with the departure of Street, and Cuddyer's offense should be a welcome addition in the outfield.
Analysis: If big activity was part of the grade, O'Dowd would get an A+. However, quantity doesn't always mean quality. Bringing in veterans with character will help, and if Guthrie can be aided by a change in scenery, that would certainly help.
2011 Team Payroll: $106,953,000
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $127,575,000
Arrivals: Prince Fielder 1B, Octavio Dotel RP, Gerald Laird C, Collin Balester RP
Departures: Carlos Guillen SS, Wil Rhymes 2B, Wilson Betemit 3B, Magglio Ordonez OF, Brad Penny SP
Apparently, Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch got tired of not being able to play along with the big boys in the sandbox.
Despite winning the American League Central Division by a whopping 15 games in 2011, Ilitch sent a message with his signing of Prince Fielder to a nine-year, $214 million contract. To put it simply, he means business.
Giving GM Dave Dombrowski the go-ahead to replace the offense lost with the untimely ACL injury to Victor Martinez, Ilitch put his money where his mouth is, and Motown will be rocking in 2012.
Analysis: Along with the signing of Fielder, Dombrowksi made a very shrewd move in signing Dotel, adding depth to an already good bullpen with Jose Valverde and Joaquin Benoit. Adding Gerald Laird to spell catcher Alex Avila on occasion was another nice addition.
2011 Team Payroll: $77,694,000
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $52,850,000
Arrivals: Jed Lowrie SS, Chris Snyder C, Jack Cust OF, Livan Hernandez SP
Departures: Clint Barmes SS, Mark Melancon RP
New Houston Astros owner Jim Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow take over a team in tatters, fresh off the worst regular season in franchise history.
While the trades of Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn netted some nice returns for the farm system, none of them do much to upgrade the roster for 2012. Barmes and Lowrie essentially cancel each other out, and losing Melancon weakens a bullpen that wasn't deep to begin with.
Analysis: 2012 is clearly a wash for the Astros, as Luhnow and Crane are looking beyond next season with contracts coming off the books and preparing for a new life in the American League in 2013.
2011 Team Payroll: $39,506,000
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $50,063,825
Arrivals: Jonathan Sanchez SP, Jonathan Broxton
Departures: Melky Cabrera OF, Jeff Francis SP
The Kansas City Royals' overall lack of activity in the offseason certainly suggests that they are committed to the homegrown talent to continue developing. However, that youth will need to step up in a major way.
GM Dayton Moore clearly likes the fact that four former first-round draft picks (Luke Hochevar, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Aaron Crow) are helping out at the big-league level, and other youngsters such as Danny Duffy, Johnny Giatovella and Lorenzo Cain will look to make an impact in 2012 as well.
Sanchez adds depth to a thin rotation, and if Broxton can get over his injury issues, he'll be a nice addition as the setup man for Joakim Soria.
Analysis: The Royals are never going to be free-spenders under David Glass, so Moore will always be restricted with what he can do. However, there's no mistaking the fact that he has excelled in developing homegrown talent—now, it's just a matter of having that talent reach its full potential. Only time will tell, and while it may be aggressive to think that 2012 is too early, that will depend on how quickly that talent matures.
2011 Team Payroll: $145,398,524
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $148,959,524
Arrivals: Albert Pujols 1B, Chris Ianetta C, C.J. Wilson SP, LaTroy Hawkins RP
Departures: Fernando Rodney RP, Joel Pineiro SP, Jeff Mathis C, Tyler Chatwood SP
In one fateful day in early December, the owner of the Los Angeles Angels officially delivered the Moreno Manifesto.
In committing $331.5 million to free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, Moreno declared in one fell swoop that he was tired of playing second fiddle to the Texas Rangers in the AL West.
New General Manager Jerry DiPoto also added veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins to the bullpen and amped up his offense behind the plate with the addition of Chris Iannetta.
Analysis: There's no question that the Angels are stronger offensively. The biggest questions at this point are whether or not AL Rookie of the Year runner-up Mark Trumbo can adjust to life at first base, whether or not Vernon Wells can bounce back from a nasty first year in Anaheim and whether or not Kendrys Morales can successfully return from two ankle surgeries that sabotaged the last 18 months of his career.
2011 Team Payroll: $108,388,167
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $84,291,667
Arrivals: Aaron Harang SP, Chris Capuano SP, Mark Ellis 2B, Todd Coffey RP, Jerry Hairston Jr. IF, Adam Kennedy IF, Mark Treanor C
Departures: Rod Barajas C, Casey Blake 3B, Jamey Carroll 2B, Jonathan Broxton RP, Hiroki Kuroda SP, Jon Garland SP, Hong-Chih Kuo RP
The good news for the Los Angeles Dodgers is that they signed both faces of the franchises, Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw. Oh, and they'll have a new owner sometime in April as well.
The bad news is that they signed a whole lot of middle-of-the-road players who probably won't add much in the way of significant value.
Sure, Ellis should be able to handle second base fairly well, and Juan Rivera could have an impact after a decent showing in the final months of 2011. However, no real change will happen with the Dodgers until new ownership is finally in place and a "real" source of cash can be infused.
Analysis: No one can really fault GM Ned Colletti for the moves made this offseason—obviously hamstrung with the ownership situation still in flux. Still, adding a collection of aging free agents doesn't do much to improve on last season's 82-79 record.
2011 Team Payroll: $57,695,000
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $95,435,000
Arrivals: Jose Reyes SS, Heath Bell RP, Mark Buehrle SP, Carlos Zambrano SP
Departures: Javier Vazquez SP, Chris Volstad SP, Burke Badenhop RP
The Miami Marlins will feature plenty of "new" this coming season.
A new manager, a new stadium, a new uniform, a new logo and four new faces will all greatly impact the 2012 season. Just how they impact the season remains in question.
Analysis: The Marlins clearly went all in, missing out in attempts to sign Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson and Yoenis Cespedes. Still, much of the Marlins' success hinges on the bounceback of Hanley Ramirez, who is coming off injury and facing a position change, and the health of staff ace Josh Johnson.
2011 Team Payroll: $84,253,333
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $91,033,333
Arrivals: Aramis Ramirez 3B, Alex Gonzalez SS, Norichika Aoki OF, Cesar Izturis SS, Travis Ishikawa 1B
Departures: Prince Fielder 1B, Mark Kotsay OF, Yuniesky Betancourt SS, LaTroy Hawkins RP, Takashi Saito RP, Jerry Hairston Jr. OF, Casey McGehee 3B
The Milwaukee Brewers had a decision to make—how to replace the offense lost with the departure of free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder. Now, they also need to deal with the possible loss of Ryan Braun for close to a third of the season after a positive drug test.
No news yet concerning Braun's status, so they're still in limbo. However, GM Doug Melvin did bring in Aramis Ramirez and Alex Gonzalez, and a Japanese star in Aoki.
Analysis: The additions of Ramirez and Gonzalez certainly beef up the left side of the infield, and all eyes will be on 26-year-old Mat Gamel as he attempts to transfer huge Triple-A numbers to the major league level. However, losing Braun will hurt, and in a tight NL Central race, the Brewers will need to tread water as best as possible for the first 50 games if Braun is indeed out of the lineup.
2011 Team Payroll: $113,237,000
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $93,282,500
Arrivals: Josh Willingham OF, Jason Marquis SP, Jamey Carroll SS, Ryan Doumit C/DH, Joel Zumaya RP
Departures: Michael Cuddyer OF, Jason Kubel OF, Kevin Slowey SP, Joe Nathan RP
Terry Ryan has a major task on his hands after retaking his GM job with Minnesota.
Coming off a 99-loss season, the worst regular season showing since 1995, Ryan had to replace the offense left behind by the departures of Kuble and Cuddyer and deal with a pitching staff that posted a 4.58 ERA, second-worst in the American League.
Analysis: Adding Willingham will help the offense, and Doumit will take pressure off Joe Mauer behind the plate as well. Joel Zumaya was a great low-risk signing ($850,000) that could pay dividends if he can manage to return from two major elbow surgeries and regain his velocity. Still, the health of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau will be the most important factors to a turnaround.
2011 Team Payroll: $143,672,167
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $86,612,500
Arrivals: Andres Torres OF, Frank Francisco RP, Ramon Ramirez RP, Jon Rauch RP, Ronny Cedeno SS, Scott Hairston IF
Departures: Jose Reyes SS, Ronny Paulino C, Jason Isringhausen RP, Chris Capuano SP, Angel Pagan OF
The financial situation of the New York Mets is certainly well known to anyone who even casually watches baseball. One look at the above payroll numbers above will show what the ongoing Bernie Madoff scandal is doing to the franchise.
As a result, the Mets essentially signed a bunch of lower-tier free agents, all of whom added up to the annual value of one Jose Reyes.
Analysis: The most optimistic of fans will tell you that the Mets upgraded their bullpen with Rauch and Francisco. Unfortunately, relief arms don't help a shaky rotation. The Mets will feature a lineup with Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda and David Wright, so scoring runs shouldn't be a major issue. A young core of prospects could arrive by 2013, but the situation in 2012 looks bleak.
2011 Team Payroll: $207,447,964
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $192,525,000
Arrivals: Michael Pineda SP, Hiroki Kuroda SP, Russell Branyan DH
Departures: Jorge Posada C, Eric Chavez 3B, Bartolo Colon SP, Jesus Montero C
Until one day in late January, everyone was wondering about the state of the New York Yankees and their relative inactivity during the offseason. GM Brian Cashman answered that speculation resoundingly.
With the acquisition of Pineda and the signing of Kuroda, any questions regarding the stability of the starting rotation were answered swiftly. Over the weekend, Cashman finalized the trade sending Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates for two minor leaguers and $17.1 million, freeing up rotation space for Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia.
Analysis: The Yankees finished up by handling the last need on their list, signing a designated hitter in Raul Ibanez. They are locked and loaded for the upcoming season.
2011 Team Payroll: $67,354,000
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $39,635,000
Arrivals: Josh Reddick OF, Seth Smith OF, Yoenis Cespedes OF
Departures: Trevor Cahill SP, Craig Breslow RP, Hideki Matsui DH, David DeJesus OF, Josh Willingham OF, Ryan Sweeney OF, Andrew Bailey RP, Guillermo Moscoso SP, Gio Gonzalez SP, Josh Outman SP, Michael Wuertz RP
Do you know the way to San Jose?
That's the song that A's owner Lew Wolff and GM Billy Beane are singing right about now. Faced with a decision to be made by MLB commissioner Bud Selig, the A's apparently decided that a bare-bones approach to the 2012 season might help convince Selig that San Jose is the place to be.
Somehow, the Beverly Hillbillies theme song is coming to mind.
Well the first thing you know ol' Lew says the cupboard's bare,
And everyone said, Lew, move away from there
Said San Jose is the place you ought to be
So they shipped off all the help and prayed for help from MLB.
Selig, that is.
Skybox views, corporate seats.
Analysis: Hmm, analysis. Well, they sold off as many moving parts as they could. How's that for analysis?
2011 Team Payroll: $165,976,381
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $156,587,439
Arrivals: Ty Wiggington 3B, Dontrelle Willis RP, Juan Pierre OF, Jonathan Papelbon RP, Jim Thome 1B, Chad Qualls RP
Departures: Raul Ibanez OF, Brad Lidge RP, Ryan Madson RP, Roy Oswalt SP, Ben Francisco OF, Wilson Valdez SS
The Philadelphia Phillies' biggest splash of the offseason was the acquisition of closer Jonathan Papelbon, and $50 million later, people are still questioning the merits of the deal.
Thome and Wigginton, along with John Mayberry, will likely provide assistance at first until Ryan Howard returns from a ruptured Achilles heel, and the re-signing of Jimmy Rollins for another three years certainly satisfied the loving Philly faithful.
Analysis: Aside from the money given to Papelbon, GM Ruben Amaro did a nice job bringing in complementary pieces to add depth. The Phillies are well-positioned to win a sixth straight NL East title.
2011 Team Payroll: $44,485,667
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $42,086,667
Arrivals: Clint Barmes SS, Rod Barajas C, Casey McGehee 3B, Nate McClouth OF, Erik Bedard SP, A.J. Burnett SP
Departures: Chris Snyder C, Ryan Doumit 1B, Derek Lee 1B, Ryan Ludwick OF, Ronny Cedeno SS, Paul Maholm SP
Fresh off a final two months of the season in which they won just 19 games and dropped from a tie at the top of the NL Central down to a 90-loss season for a professional sports franchise record 19th straight losing season, the Pittsburgh Pirates went out and...well, they didn't do much at all.
Bedard and Burnett help bolster the pitching staff. Well, at least that's what they're saying in Pittsburgh. In reality, they're just hoping that Bedard can start of minimum of 20 games and Burnett can manage to not walk the entire National League.
Analysis: Sorry, Pirates, but a new left side of the infield, two questionable starters and a former Pirates reject returning home again doesn't exactly give an air of confidence that Pittsburgh can avoid a record 20th losing season.
2011 Team Payroll: $45,869,140
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $49,195,000
Arrivals: Carlos Quentin OF, Yonder Alonso OF, Edinson Volquez SP, Huston Street RP, Mark Kotsay OF, Andrew Cashner RP
Departures: Mat Latos SP, Anthony Rizzo 1B, Heath Bell RB, Aaron Harang SP, Chad Qualls RP, Wade LeBlanc SP
New San Diego Padres GM Josh Byrnes certainly worked hard to put his stamp on his new team right away, but whether or not that stamp is worth anything remains to be seen.
The additions of Alonso and Quentin will add pop to the middle of the lineup, and Jesus Guzman will get another chance to shine with added protection.
Analysis: I like some of the moves made by Byrnes, although there is a clear downgrade in the bullpen with Street replacing Bell. The pitching staff is likely good enough for Petco Park, but not anywhere near enough to match up with the likes of Arizona and San Francisco in the NL West.
2011 Team Payroll: $118,198,333
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $126,308,333
Arrivals: Melky Cabrera OF, Ryan Theriot SS, Angel Pagan OF
Departures: Orlando Cabrera SS, Jeff Keppinger SS, Carlos Beltran OF, Pat Burrell OF, Cody Ross OF, Andres Torres OF, Ramon Ramirez RP, Jonathan Sanchez SP
The pitching staff for the San Francisco Giants carried the team last season, and the fact that they finished 10 games above .500 speaks volumes for the way they performed, given the Giants' seeming inability to score at all.
Adding Cabrera will help, and Pagan brings speed. However, much will depend on the return to full health by Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez and better production from Audrey Huff, Brandon Belt and Nate Schierholtz.
Analysis: Only adding Cabera, Pagan and Theriot just makes the offseason feel incomplete. The Giants are clearly relying on players from last year to either get healthy or hit better. Seems like an awful lot to rely on.
2011 Team Payroll: $93,623,191
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $73,812,500
Arrivals: Jesus Montero C, Hector Noesi SP, Kevin Millwood SP, Hisashi Iwakuma SP, George Sherrill RP, Hong-Chih Kuo RP, Shawn Camp RP, John Jasso C, Carlos Guillen SS
Departures: Michael Pineda SP
General manager Jack Zduriencik definitely showed he's got some cojones.
It was a bold trade indeed swapping phenom Michael Pineda for Jesus Montero, but Zduriencik clearly saw a need to bolster an offense that has been anemic for several years. Fortunately for the Mariners, there are several studs on the farm (Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, James Paxton) who will be helping at the major league level as soon as 2013.
Analysis: Zduriencik will be relying on Montero to lead a young corps of hitters in Dustin Ackley, Mike Carp and Justin Smoak. The GM also brought in several arms to support Felix Hernandez and Jason Vargas in the starting rotation.
2011 Team Payroll: $109,798,000
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $105,762,500
Arrivals: Carlos Beltran OF
Departures: Albert Pujols 1B, Nick Punto SS, Ryan Theriot SS, Gerald Laird C, Octavio Dotel RP, Edwin Jackson SP, Arthur Rhodes RP
Despite the loss of Albert Pujols, the Cardinals aren't in the kind of shape that has people running for the bridges.
The addition of Beltran will help a lineup that still has Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday providing plenty of pop, and Allen Craig's return from right knee surgery will be a welcome sign as well.
Adam Wainwright's return from Tommy John surgery will bolster a pitching staff that's already solid, and the bullpen certainly proved their worth last season.
Analysis: Losing Pujols was certainly huge, but John Mozeliak didn't panic and go after pieces that didn't make sense.
2011 Team Payroll: $43,921,308
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $58,265,475
Arrivals: Carlos Pena 1B, Luke Scott DH, Jose Molina C, Jeff Keppinger SS, Fernando Rodney RP, Burke Badenhop RP
Departures: Kelly Shoppach C, Johnny Damon DH, Casey Kotchman 1B, John Jasso C
The Rays quietly made some additions this offseason that should help complement them offensively.
The additions of Pena and Scott add punch to a team that already has significant power in Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton, and the pitching staff certainly didn't need much tweaking with its staff that was at or close to the top of most pitching categories in the American League.
Analysis: One of the biggest deals made by the Rays was extending manager Joe Maddon's contract for another three years. His leadership has been a big key to the team's success over the last four years.
2011 Team Payroll: $109,798,000
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $105,762,500
Arrivals: Yu Darvish SP, Joe Nathan RP, Brad Hawpe 1B/OF, Conor Jackson 1B
Departures: C.J. Wilson SP, Endy Chavez OF, Darren Oliver RP, Mike Gonzalez RP
The Texas Rangers certainly didn't need to do much with an already stellar offense, although they were major players in the Prince Fielder sweepstakes, giving an indication that they're not totally satisfied with Mitch Moreland. The addition of Nathan gave the Rangers the green light on moving Neftali Feliz to the rotation, and the $103 million investment in Yu Darvish certainly carries an element of risk.
Analysis: Darvish will clearly be the key to how the Rangers' offseason will be perceived. If he collects 15 wins with an ERA somewhere around 3.00, Jon Daniels will be looked upon as a visionary. If Darvish goes the way of many other Japanese pitchers who have flopped on American soil, the "I told you sos" will be flowing faster than cheap beer.
2011 Team Payroll: $70,317,800
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $79,115,000
Arrivals: Jeff Mathis C, Ben Francisco OF, Sergio Santos RP, Darren Oliver RP, Jason Frasor RP, Omar Vizquel SS, Francisco Cordero RP
Departures: Jose Molina C, Jon Rauch RP, Frank Francisco RP, Shawn Camp RP
Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has yet to show that he is willing to go all in on the free agent market, but he certainly isn't afraid to make deals.
The shrewdest move of the offseason was the acquisition of Sergio Santos. Santos will move into the closer's role and remains under team control for four more years. The additions of Oliver, Cordero and Frasor will help stabilize the bullpen as well.
Analysis: There are still fans out there who are exasperated with the Jays' inability to pull off a major free agent signing. However, Anthopoulos has stayed the course regarding his vision, and with a young core of players in the system, the Jays really aren't that far away.
2011 Team Payroll: $69,756,929
Estimated 2012 Team Payroll: $80,046,429
Arrivals: Edwin Jackson SP, Gio Gonzalez SP, Brad Lidge RP, Mike Cameron
Departures: Todd Coffey RP, Livan Hernandez RP
Without question, the biggest deal for the Washington Nationals was the acquisition of Gio Gonzalez, adding to a staff that already includes Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann. Adding Jackson gives Washington a stellar top-four rotation.
Analysis: Jackson and Gonzalez will be a great complement to youngsters Strasburg and Zimmermann, and the addition of Lidge helps in support of Drew Stroren and Tyler Clippard.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.