MLB News: Top 10 Offseason Moves That Will Make the Biggest Impact

hh bjjjnCorrespondent IIFebruary 25, 2012

MLB News: Top 10 Offseason Moves That Will Make the Biggest Impact

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    The MLB offseason prior to the 2012 campaign was a historical one to say the least. 

    One of the greatest players ever left for sunny California, and the Prince is back to where he hit moon shots as a teen. 

    There were both impact free-agent signings and trades. All these players will make a major impact for their new teams and hopefully win them a World Series ring. 

    What new acquisition will make the greatest impact for his new team?

10. Ryan Madson

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    The Cincinnati Reds signed former Philadelphia Phillies closer Ryan Madson to a one-year, $8.25 million contract.

    This was an absolute steal for the Reds as Madson was expected to sign a multi-year deal for top dollars when he entered free agency. 

    Madson will close games for the Reds, who improved their staring rotation by getting Mat Latos in a trade with the San Diego Padres this offseason. The Reds now have one of the top rotations with one of the best closers in baseball finishing games for them this season. 

    Madson had a 2.37 ERA in 60.2 innings pitched to go along with 32 saves in 2011 for the Philadelphia Phillies. Look for him to have another solid year and make a huge impact for the Cincinnati Reds in 2012.

9. C.J. Wilson

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    The Los Angels Angels of Anaheim made a huge risk when they signed pitcher C.J. Wilson to a five-year, $77.5 million contract. 

    Wilson will have to live up to the contract, but shouldn't feel as much pressure to do so because he won't be the Angels' No. 1 pitcher. The Angels already had a solid three starters in Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. 

    Last year, Wilson pitched for the AL West rival Texas Rangers, and was 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA. Those are very nice numbers, but Wilson greatly disappointed in the 2011 playoffs. He was 0-3 in the playoffs and now has a 1-5 playoff record with a 4.82 ERA. 

    Wilson will have to improve on his playoff stats in order to live up to his huge contract. However, the Angels now have a nice core four of starting pitchers that should help them contend with the Texas Rangers in the AL West.

8. Carlos Beltran

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    Carlos Beltran signed with the St. Louis Cardinals on a two-year, $26 million contract this offseason. 

    Beltran was one of the most underrated free agents this offseason, and his contract was a steal for the Cardinals. He may not always be the healthiest player, but for two years and $26 million, this was a great deal. 

    In 2011, Beltran shined on both the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants. With the Mets he was an All-Star while hitting .289 to go along with 15 bombs in 98 games.

    After being traded to the Giants, Beltran continued to show he is still a great hitter by hitting .323 with seven homers in only 44 games. 

    Beltran is no longer one of the best in the game, but he can still produce great numbers. For his contract, Beltran was a steal and will make a huge impact for the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. 

7. Mark Buehrle

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    The Miami Marlins signed starting pitcher Mark Buehrle to a four-year, $58 million contract.

    The southpaw left Chicago after pitching for the White Sox for 12 seasons. Buehrle was Mr. Consistency for the White Sox, and the Marlins will hope he continues to be that for their ballclub.

    The 32-year-old was 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA on a weak White Sox team in 2011. He will eat up innings for the Marlins and give great leadership to their staff. 

    Four years for Buehrle may have been a little much, but he will bring great consistency to the Marlins. If Josh Johnson can stay healthy, the Miami Marlins may have a very good starting rotation. 

6. Jesus Montero

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    The Mariners received the New York Yankees' super prospect, Jesus Montero, in a trade in which they gave up pitcher Michael Pineda. 

    This was a monumental trade that involved two phenomenal young players that will make huge impacts for their new teams. The Mariners received a great hitter who will produce for years to come. 

    Montero showed his talents by hitting .328 with four homers in just 18 games played for the New York Yankees. The catcher/DH has a great mix of average and power to all parts of the field.

    The only downside to Montero's game is his defense.

    He came up as a catcher, but was only a DH in his limited time in the bigs for the Yankees. Will Montero be capable of being a catcher at the big-league level, or will he just be a hitting machine as a DH?

    Plain and simple, the Mariners' offense sucked last year. Montero will make a huge impact at the plate this year and years to come. Time will only tell if they won in this trade.   

5. Jose Reyes

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    The Miami Marlins also went out and signed shortstop Jose Reyes to a six-year, $106 million contract. 

    Reyes had a monster 2011 campaign by winning the NL batting crown (on a bunt) by hitting .337, led the league with 16 triples and was an All-Star once again with the New York Mets. 

    Health has always been an issue for the explosive Reyes and he will have to stay healthy to live up to his lucrative contract. 

    This move was also surprising since the Marlins already had an All-Star shortstop, Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez will be making the move to third base in order to accommodate Miami's new addition.

    Reyes is one of the most exciting players in the league. He will fill the seats in Miami's new stadium, and if healthy he will have a huge impact on the Marlins' 2012 season.  

4. Michael Pineda

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    The New York Yankees received young starting pitcher Michael Pineda from the Seattle Mariners in this offseason's huge trade. 

    Pineda had an up-and-down rookie year, but showed unreal potential. He was 8-6 with 3.03 ERA and earned a trip to the All-Star game in the first half, but was only 1-4 with a 5.12 ERA in the second half of the 2011 season.

    Pineda, 23, stands 6'7" and is a big 260-pounder. His huge frame and young age makes him a pitcher the Yankees think will excel in pinstripes.

    The Yankees did not have a solid starter that they could put behind C.C. Sabathia, and now they have one that can step into that spot for years to come. Giving away Jesus Montero was hard for the Yankees, but when you receive a young pitcher this talented, you can't pass it up.

    Look for Pineda's numbers to improve in his second year as a starting pitcher in the bigs; he now will be pitching for a team with a stacked lineup.

    Only time will tell if the Yankees won in their trade with the Mariners.   

3. Yu Darvish

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    Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish signed a six-year, $60 million contract this offseason with the Texas Rangers. With the $51.7 million posting fee to negotiate with Darvish, the Rangers have paid over $111 million for him. 

    Darvish, 25, is one of the most highly anticipated Japanese free agents ever.

    In 2011, while pitching for the Nippon Ham Fighters, Darvish won 18 games while posting a career-low 1.44 ERA.

    In his career, Darvish is 93-38 with a 1.99 ERA. Those numbers were against lower levels of talent and clearly won't be the same in the MLB.

    Darvish adds to a great Texas Rangers team and they now have a total of seven possible options for their starting rotation in 2012.

    Darvish might not post a 1.44 ERA, but he will have solid numbers for the defending AL Champion Texas Rangers.  

2. Albert Pujols

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    The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim made another big move by signing former Cardinals great Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $240 million contract.

    Pujols shocked the world by leaving the St. Louis Cardinals after 11 years and heading west to Anaheim.

    The Angels' new first baseman is one of the all-time greats and proved it once again in 2011.

    The 32-year-old had an "off season" by hitting .299 with 37 long balls and 99 RBI in 147 games. Those stats are career bests for most players, but Pujols is not like most players.

    In his 11 seasons he has hit 455 homers, 1,329 RBI and averaged a .328 batting average. That is one of the greatest 11-year starts to a career in baseball history.

    Pujols will have to stay healthy and continue his greatness in order to live up to his lucrative contract. He will soon be the face of Los Angeles and the Angels hope he can continue winning championships in an Angels uniform.  

1. Prince Fielder

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    After a long wait, Prince Fielder finally signed with the Detroit Tigers for a nine-year, $214 million contract this offseason.

    Fielder, 27, will soon be the "King of Detroit," where he once hit bombs as a chubby teen when his father, Cecil Fielder, played for the Tigers.

    Prince's long-awaited signing happened very soon after the Tigers' DH, Victor Martinez, was declared out for the 2012 season after tearing his ACL. 

    In 2011, Fielder hit .299 with 38 home runs and 120 RBI for the Milwaukee Brewers, while playing in all 162 games. He was also an All-Star and took home a Silver Slugger for NL first basemen. 

    The 3-4 combo of Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera could be scary good. Cabrera's move to third base may hurt the Tigers' defense, but their offensive numbers will soon make people forget about that. 

    Fielder is in the prime of his career and will make a huge impact for the Detroit Tigers. They already have last year's AL Cy Young and MVP winner, Justin Verlander, and now they have two of the best hitters on one team. 

    The Tigers can only hope Fielder's healthy history stays consistent for his nine years in Detroit.