As soon as a free agent signs with a new team or a big trade is made, everyone immediately has an opinion on whether the move was a good one or a bad one.
While that is part of the fun of the offseason, the only real way to see whether a player is a good addition is to play out the season and without fail, there are always some surprises, both good and bad, along the way.
Last year's offseason was an exciting one, with a number of blockbuster trades pulled off and several superstar players changing teams in the offseason. Now a year later, here is a look back at each team's offseason moves from a year ago and my grade of every trade and signing.
11/15: Re-signed 2B Aaron Hill to a two-year, $11 million deal.
The Diamondbacks acquired Hill from the Blue Jays at the deadline in 2011 in a swap of second basemen that sent Kelly Johnson north of the border. He hit .302 BA, 26 HR, 85 RBI, 14 SB and ranked as one of the most productive second basemen in all of baseball.
12/9: Acquired SP Trevor Cahill, RP Craig Breslow from Oakland for SP Jarrod Parker, RP Ryan Cook, OF Collin Cowgill.
Looking to add another proven starter to their staff, the Diamondbacks dealt a package centered around one of their top prospects in Parker to acquire Cahill from the A's. Cahill was solid in going 13-12 with a 3.78 ERA, but Parker was actually better with a 13-8 record and 3.47 ERA over 29 starts. Cook was also a key contributor out of the Oakland bullpen and made the All-Star team.
12/13: Signed RP Takashi Saito to a one-year, $1.75 million deal.
Saito entered the 2012 season with a career 2.18 ERA over 322 big-league appearances, and even at 42 years old he looked to have plenty left in the tank. That was not the case, though, and he struggled to a 6.75 ERA over 16 games before injuries cut his season short.
12/19: Signed LF Jason Kubel to a two-year, $16 million deal.
More than a few eyebrows were raised when the Diamondbacks signed Kubel, as the move pushed a good young outfielder in Gerardo Parra to the bench. Kubel wound up putting together a solid season, with a .253 BA, 30 HR, 90 RBI line and proved well worth his salary. However, the signing still created a log jam in the outfield.
10/31: Acquired RP Chris Jones from Cleveland for SP Derek Lowe and $10 million.
In the final year of his contract and with a salary of $15 million, the Braves essentially gave Lowe away for some salary relief and in the long run it proved to be a wise move, as he got off to a solid start in Cleveland but quickly fell off and wound up released.
4/1: Acquired 3B Juan Francisco from Cincinnati for RP J.J. Hoover
With Chipper Jones on the shelf to open the season, the Braves acquired Francisco to provide some depth at the hot corner and a bat off the bench once Jones returned. He finished the season with a .234 BA, 9 HR, 32 RBI line over 192 at-bats.
Though he didn't have a spot in the Braves 'pen, Hoover turned in a solid season for the Reds with a 2.05 ERA in 28 appearances.
11/2: Selected RP Darren O'Day off waivers from Texas.
It took some time for him to establish himself, but between 2009 and 2010 he appeared in 140 games and registered a 1.94 ERA. However, he struggled to a 5.40 ERA in 2011 and was designated for assignment as a result.
He quickly turned things around in Baltimore though this past season, going 7-1 with a 2.28 ERA in 69 appearances.
12/14: Signed SP Tsuyoshi Wada to a two-year, $8.15 million deal.
Coming off of a dominant season in the Japanese League in which he went 16-5 with a 1.51 ERA, the 31-year-old Wada was expected to step right into the Orioles rotation. Instead, injury struck and he underwent Tommy John surgery, making just one Triple-A appearance on the season.
12/20: Signed OF Endy Chavez to a one-year, $1.5 million deal.
A terrific defender who has served as a fourth outfielder throughout his career, Chavez hit .301 over 256 at bats with the Rangers in 2011 and the Orioles signed him in hopes of platooning him in left field. He struggled to a .203 average this past season though and missed a good deal of time due to injury.
1/10: Signed SP Wei-Yin Chen to a three-year, $11.09 million deal.
While Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes ruled the headlines, Chen was a highly sought after import as well after going 8-10 with a 2.68 ERA for the Chunichi Dragons of the Japanese League in 2011. It was unclear whether he would start the season in the majors, but he won a rotation spot out of spring training and wound up being one of the team's few reliable starters, going 12-11 with a 4.02 ERA over 32 starts.
1/24: Signed 3B Wilson Betemit to a two-year, $3.25 million deal.
After back-to-back solid seasons as a utility player in 2010 and 2011, the Orioles inked Betemit to spend time at both corner infield spots as well as DH. He produced similar numbers as he has in the past with a .261 BA, 12 HR, 40 RBI season.
2/6: Acquired SP Jason Hammel and RP Matt Lindstrom from Colorado for SP Jeremy Guthrie.
Looking to add a veteran presence to their young rotation, the Rockies shipped a pair of arms to the Orioles for former staff ace Jeremy Guthrie.
While Guthrie struggled in Colorado along with the rest of their staff, Hammel went 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA over 20 starts and Lindstrom had a 2.72 ERA in 34 games before being traded to Arizona for Joe Saunders.
2/10: Signed RP Luis Ayala to a one-year, $925K deal.
Ayala enjoyed varying levels of success during his career heading into the 2011 season, when he enjoyed a career year with a 2.09 ERA over 52 appearances with the Yankees. That was enough to earn him a guaranteed deal for 2012 with a team option, and he was terrific again with a 2.64 ERA over 66 appearances.
12/7: Re-Signed DH David Ortiz to one-year, $14.58 million deal.
After an impressive .309 BA, 29 HR, 96 RBI season in 2011, Ortiz re-upped with the Red Sox on a one-year deal and was on his way to an even better season when an Achilles injury cut his season short. As it was, he finished with a line of .318 BA, 23 HR, 60 RBI through 324 at-bats.
12/13: Signed C Kelly Shoppach to a one-year, $1.14 million deal.
Originally drafted by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2001 draft, Shoppach long been one of the league's better backup catchers and a solid power source. He hit .250 BA, 5 HR, 17 RBI in limited action before being traded to the Mets at the deadline.
12/14: Acquired RP Mark Melancon from Houston for SS Jed Lowrie and SP Kyle Weiland.
Looking to bolster their bullpen with Daniel Bard slated to join the rotation, the Red Sox acquired the Astros' 2011 closer in Melancon and gave up a pair of solid young players in the process.
Melancon flopped in Boston, posting a 6.20 ERA in 41 games. Lowrie emerged as an offensive asset for the Astros while Weiland missed most of the season with injury.
12/14: Signed UT Nick Punto to a two-year, $3 million deal.
After serving as a key bench player for the 2011 champion Cardinals, Punto landed a multi-year deal from the Red Sox but struggled to a .200 average through 125 at-bats before being shipped to the Dodgers in the huge August blockbuster.
12/28: Acquired RP Andrew Bailey and RF Ryan Sweeney from Oakland for RF Josh Reddick, 1B Miles Head and P Raul Alcantara
Looking for a closer to replace the departed Jonathan Papelbon, the Red Sox acquired two-time All-Star Bailey to fill that role and gave up a pair of potential impact offensive players in Reddick and Head.
Bailey missed almost the entire season due to injury, while Reddick emerged an offensive force for the A's with 32 HR and 85 RBI, and Head hit .333 BA, 23 HR, 84 RBI between High Single-A and Double-A.
1/9: Signed SP Aaron Cook to a minor-league deal.
After a pair of rough seasons with the Red Sox, Cook settled on a minor league deal with the Red Sox. He wound up making 18 starts and going 4-11 with a 5.65 ERA.
1/16: Signed P Vicente Padilla to a one-year, $1.5 million deal.
Signed as a swingman to either start or relieve, Padilla carved a niche in the Red Sox bullpen and went 4-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 56 appearances
1/21: Acquired RP Clayton Mortensen from Rockies for SS Marco Scutaro.
In what was essentially a cost-cutting move, the Rockies shipped Scutaro and his $6 million salary to the Red Sox for the 27-year-old Mortensen. Scutaro put up average numbers in Colorado before being traded to the Giants at the deadline, where he would be a postseason hero. Mortensen appeared in 26 games and posted a solid 3.21 ERA.
1/26: Signed RF Cody Ross to a one-year, $3 million deal.
A hero for the Giants in 2010, Ross hit just .240 in 2011 and as a result had to settle for a one-year deal in the offseason. The Red Sox took a chance on him, and he rewarded them with a .267 BA, 22 HR, 81 RBI season.
11/30: Signed RF David DeJesus to a two-year, $10 million deal.
In need of a stop-gap option in right field and a lead-off hitter, the Cubs took a chance on DeJesus as a bounce-back candidate after a down season in 2011. He was decent, with a 1.6 WAR, as he posted a .263 BA, 9 HR, 50 RBI line but he did not exactly bounce back as the team had hoped.
12/8: Acquired 3B Ian Stewart and P Casey Weathers from Colorado for RF Tyler Colvin and IF D.J. LeMahieu.
Along the same lines as the DeJesus signing, the Cubs acquired Stewart in hopes he'd regain his pre-2011 form as he hit just .156 and spent much of the season in the minors. It was more of the same from the 27-year-old, though, as he hit .201 BA, 5 HR, 17 RBI before an injury ended his season.
Meanwhile, Colvin thrived in Colorado with a .290 BA, 18 HR, 72 RBI line.
12/21: Signed OF Reed Johnson to a one-year, $1.5 million deal.
A member of the Cubs in 2008, 2009 and 2011, Johnson hit a solid .302 BA, 3 HR, 16 RBI as the team's fourth outfielder before being traded to the Braves along with Paul Maholm at the deadline.
12/23: Acquired SP Travis Wood, OF Dave Sappelt and 2B Ronald Torreyes from Cincinnati for RP Sean Marshall
Looking to bolster their starting rotation, the Cubs dealt relief ace Sean Marshall to the Reds for left-hander Travis Wood and a pair of prospects. Marshall continued to be a reliable late-inning arm with a 2.51 ERA over 73 appearances, while Wood went 6-13 with a 4.27 ERA over 26 starts.
1/4: Acquired SP Chris Volstad from Miami for SP Carlos Zambrano and $15.5 million.
The Cubs entered the offseason intent on cutting ties with Zambrano, and in the end they Marlins gave them Volstad and $2.5 million in salary relief in the deal. Zambrano split the season between the rotation and bullpen with mixed results, while Volstad was horrible in going 3-12 with a 6.31 ERA.
1/6: Acquired 1B Anthony Rizzo and SP Zach Cates from San Diego for P Andrew Cashner and OF Kyung-Min Na.
While Cashner has an electric arm, it is looking more like he'll be a reliever for the duration of his career, and in return for him, the Cubs got a slugger who could anchor their lineup for the next decade. Rizzo tore through minor-league pitching before being called up in late June, and then hit .285 BA, 15 HR, 48 RBI the rest of the way.
1/10: Signed SP Paul Maholm to a two-year, $11.25 million deal.
Signed to fill out the rotation, Maholm was fantastic during his time with the Cubs with a 9-6 record and 3.74 ERA. In his last seven games with the Cubs, he went 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA to bring his trade value to an all-time high. The Cubs used him to acquire one of the Braves' top prospects in Arodys Vizcaino in a deadline trade.
1/13: Signed RP Kerry Wood to a one-year, $3 million deal.
After serving as a key setup man in 2011, the Cubs brought Wood back and after he struggled to an 8.31 ERA through his first 10 games, he retired. Still, the signing allowed a fan favorite to retire with his team.
3/26: Signed RP Shawn Camp to a minor-league deal.
The team's last real addition before the season began, Camp won a bullpen spot and ended up as the team's most reliable reliever. He pitched an NL-high 80 games with a 3.59 ERA in 77.2 innings of work.
11/9: Signed SP Jose Quintana to a minor-league deal.
After five minor-league seasons with the Mets and Yankees, Quintana became a free agent prior to the 2012 season and the White Sox signed him to a minor-league deal. Not only did he make his debut, but he started 22 games and went 6-6 with a 3.76 ERA.
12/6: Acquired SP Nestor Molina from Toronto for RP Sergio Santos.
A years after making his big-league debut, Santos took over as the White Sox closer, saving 30 games and posting a 13.1 K/9 mark during the 2011 season. Injuries limited him to just six games in 2012 though. Molina, meanwhile, ranks as one of the top White Sox pitching prospects and he went 6-11 with a 4.55 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A.
12/31: Acquired SP Pedro Hernandez and SP Simon Castro from Padres for LF Carlos Quentin.
With slugger Carlos Quentin set to hit free agency at the end of the 2012 season, the White Sox opted to move him in an effort to bolster their minor-league pitching. Quentin was injured for a good portion of the year, but played well enough upon his return to earn an extension. Hernandez was traded again to acquire Francisco Liriano from the Twins.
1/1: Acquired RP Daniel Webb and SP Myles Jaye from Toronto for RP Jason Frasor.
Continuing on with their attempts to bolster their farm system, the White Sox traded Frasor back to the Blue Jays after acquiring him at the deadline in 2011. He went on to pitch in 50 games and post a 4.12 ERA. Neither Webb nor Jaye enjoyed much success in the minors in 2012.
2/14: Signed OF Kosuke Fukudome to a one-year, $500K deal.
The White Sox only major league free-agent signing, Fukudome was brought on to be the team's fourth outfielder but he hit just .171 over 41 at-bats before being released in June.
12/17: Acquired SP Mat Latos from San Diego for 1B Yonder Alonso, C Yasmani Grandal, SP Edinson Volquez and RP Brad Boxberger.
There is no question the Reds gave up a ton to get Latos, but with Joey Votto at first base, Devin Mesoraco at catcher and a full rotation, they were pieces they could afford to move. Latos filled the role of No. 2 starter perfectly, going 14-4 with a 3.48 ERA.
12/23: Acquired RP Sean Marshall from Chicago (NL) for SP Travis Wood, OF Dave Sappelt and 2B Ronald Torreyes.
It cost them a promising, controllable young left-hander in Travis Wood, but Marshall was a big reason why the Reds bullpen was among the best in baseball as he appeared in 73 games and had a 2.51 ERA with 10.9 K/9.
1/13: Signed RP Ryan Madson to a one-year, $8.5 million deal.
A setup man for the majority of his career, Madson stepped into the closer's role for the Phillies in 2011 and saved 32 games with a 2.37 ERA. That was enough to make him one of the more attractive relief pitchers on the market, but Tommy John surgery kept him from ever making his Reds debut.
2/8: Signed LF Ryan Ludwick to a one-year, $2 million deal.
The Reds signed Ludwick late in the offseason to replace the departed Jonny Gomes in left field, and after a slow start, he turned things on and finished the season with a .275 BA, 26 HR, 80 RBI line. That was enough for him to decline his option, as he'll look for one last multi-year deal this winter.
4.1: Acquired RP J.J. Hoover from Atlanta for 3B Juan Francisco
With the Braves in need of an insurance option at third base, the Reds took advantage and acquired a solid young reliever in Hoover. The 24-year-old posted a 2.05 ERA in 28 appearances and should remain a solid part of the Cincinnati bullpen.
10/31: Acquired SP Derek Lowe and $10 million from Atlanta for RP Chris Jones
The Indians looked to have pulled off a major heist when Lowe opened the season 6-1 with a 2.05 ERA over his first eight starts. However, he went 2-9 with an 8.28 ERA over his next 10 starts and was eventually released.
11/23: Signed CF Grady Sizemore to a one-year, $5 million deal.
The Indians declined their $9 million option on Sizemore entering the 2011 season, but brought him back on a $5 million deal with incentives that would allow him to earn the full $9 million. Instead, he injured himself before he ever took the field and did not play a single game.
Grade: F (not IC, simply because the Indians should have known better)
2/3: Signed 1B Casey Kotchman to a one-year, $3 million deal.
Kotchman enjoyed a career year in 2011, hitting .306 BA, 10 HR, 48 RBI for the Rays who plucked him off the scrap heap prior to the season. He was unable to match that production in Cleveland though, as he hit just .229 BA, 12 HR, 55 RBI.
11/30: Acquired SP Tyler Chatwood from Los Angeles (AL) for C Chris Iannetta.
With Ramon Hernandez signed and prospect Wilin Rosario on the way, the Rockies traded incumbent catcher Chris Iannetta for a promising young right-hander in Tyler Chatwood. Rosario stepped in and proved the team didn't need Iannetta, and while Chatwood went just 5-6 with a 5.43 ERA, he still has plenty of potential at 22 years old.
11/30: Signed C Ramon Hernandez to a two-year, $6.4 million deal.
Looking for a bridge to top prospect Wilin Rosario, the Rockies signed Hernandez to a two-year deal after he hit .282 BA, 12 HR, 36 RBI with the Reds in 2011. The move backfired, as Rosario proved ready earlier than expected and Hernandez hit just .217 over 184 at-bats.
12/7: Acquired SP Nick Schmidt from San Diego for RP Huston Street and $1 million.
Looking to shed some payroll, the Rockies unloaded $7 million of Huston Street's $8 million contract on the Padres and while Schmidt is little more than organizational depth, the move achieved its goal in freeing up some salary room.
12/8: Acquired OF Tyler Colvin and IF D.J. LeMahieu from Chicago (NL) for 3B Ian Stewart and P Casey Weathers.
The Rockies took full advantage of a Cubs team looking to hit on a bounce-back player when they dealt Stewart for a pair of solid young hitters. Colvin did better than anyone could have anticipated in hitting .290 BA, 18 HR, 72 RBI, while LeMahieu still has plenty of upside as a middle infielder.
12/16: Signed RF Michael Cuddyer to a three-year, $31.5 million deal.
Coming off of one of the best seasons of his career, Cuddyer was one of the most sought after free agents of last year's class, and the Rockies eventually inked him to a big three-year deal. He wasn't bad in his first season in Colorado, but his line of .260 BA, 16 HR, 58 RBI was down from his 2011 numbers.
1/16: Acquired SP Guillermo Moscoso and SP Josh Outman from Oakland for OF Seth Smith.
With Cuddyer signed, Seth Smith became expendable in Colorado and the Rockies shipped him to the A's for a pair of pitchers capable of making an immediate impact. That didn't happen, however, as Moscoso (3-2, 6.12 ERA) and Outman (1-3, 8.19 ERA) struggled mightily while Smith was a key contributor for the surprise A's.
1/21: Acquired SS Marco Scutaro from Boston for RP Clayton Mortensen.
With a clear hole at second base and in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, the Rockies jumped at the chance to acquire Scutaro, who the Red Sox cut loose in a cost-cutting move. He was average at best before eventually being traded to the Giants, where he broke out and led the offense in the postseason.
2/6: Acquired SP Jeremy Guthrie from Baltimore for SP Jason Hammel and RP Matt Lindstrom
Looking for a veteran to anchor their staff, the Rockies landed Guthrie from the Orioles for a pair of arms. He then proceeded to go 3-9 with a 6.35 ERA before being traded to the Royals. Meanwhile, both Hammel and Lindstrom pitched well for a surprise Baltimore team.
11/18: Signed C Gerald Laird to a one-year, $1 million deal.
A light-hitting backup known for his defensive prowess and veteran leadership, Laird was signed to back up Alex Avila and ended up hitting a solid .282 BA, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 24 R over 174 at-bats.
11/30: Re-Signed IF Ramon Santiago to a two-year, $4.2 million deal.
After posting a combined 4.1 WAR between 2010 and 2011, Santiago ranked as one of the best utility infielders in baseball and a potential option to start at second base when the Tigers opted to bring him back on a two-year deal.
He flopped, though, hitting just .206 over 228 at-bats and he probably didn't deserve a multi-year deal to begin with.
12/9: Signed RP Octavio Dotel to a two-year, $6.5 million deal.
Dotel served as a key addition for the 2011 Cardinals championship run, and he used that success to land a multi-year deal despite being 38 years old. It paid off for the Tigers, as he had a 3.57 ERA and 9.6 K/9 over 58 innings of work.
1/26: Signed 1B Prince Fielder to a nine-year, $214 million deal.
No doubt one of the biggest shocks of the offseason, the Tigers countered losing Victor Martinez for the season by signing Fielder to a huge nine-year deal. His .313 BA, 30 HR, 108 RBI season hitting behind Miguel Cabrera no doubt helped in Cabrera's Triple Crown run, and they'll continue to form the game's most potent duo moving forward.
12/14: Acquired SS Jed Lowrie and SP Kyle Weiland from Boston for RP Mark Melancon.
With the Red Sox in need of bullpen help, the Astros took advantage and acquired a starting shortstop and a high-upside starting pitching prospect for what turned out to be a bad setup man. Lowrie hit .244 BA, 16 HR, 42 RBI and while Weiland battled injuries, he still has the stuff to be a factor in the Astros rebuilding rotation.
1/11: Claimed OF Fernando Martinez off waiver from New York (NL).
Ranked as a top 100 prospect by Baseball America each year from 2007-2010, Martinez is still just 24 years old and is the perfect kind of player for the Astros to take a chance on. He hit .237 BA, 6 HR, 14 RBI in 118 at-bats and still has the tools to make an impact.
1/20: Signed C Chris Snyder to a one-year, $750K deal.
With the health of Jason Castro in question to start the season and a young pitching staff, the Astros opted to bring aboard the veteran Snyder on a one-year deal. He didn't provide much of anything offensively, as he hit just .176 over 221 at-bats.
3/20: Acquired RP Kevin Chapman and OF D'Andre Toney from Kansas City for C Humberto Quintero and OF Jason Bourgeois.
In need of a catcher, the Royals traded for veteran Humberto Quintero in a four-player deal with the Astros just before the season started.
In return, the Astros were able to land a promising relief pitching prospect in Kevin Chapman, who had a 2.64 ERA and 9.2 K/9 in 58 innings of work at Double-A and should be in the big leagues some time in 2013.
11/7: Acquired SP Jonathan Sanchez and P Ryan Verdugo from San Francisco for OF Melky Cabrera.
This trade looked an awful lot worse before Cabrera was suspended for a positive PED test, but even with that, the Royals clearly came out on the short end of this one. Sanchez went 1-6 with a 7.76 ERA in 12 starts with the Royals before being traded to the Rockies for Jeremy Guthrie at the deadline, while Cabrera was an All-Star and in line for the batting title pre-suspension.
11/23: Re-signed SP Bruce Chen to a two-year, $9 million deal.
After a solid season in 2011 that saw him go 12-8 with a 3.77 ERA, the Royals decided to bring Chen back on a two-year deal. He didn't enjoy the same success, though, as he went just 11-14 with a 5.07 ERA.
11/29: Signed RP Jonathan Broxton to a one-year, $4 million deal.
Broxton pitched in just 14 games in 2011 before injuries ended his season, and he had to take a bargain deal when he hit the free-agent market as a result. When Joakim Soria went down with an injury pre-season, Broxton slid into the closer's role and he converted 23-of-27 save chances before being dealt to the Reds at the deadline.
12/20: Signed IF Yuniesky Betancourt to a one-year, $2 million deal.
Looking to add some veteran depth to their infield, the Royals signed Betancourt, who had 29 HR and 146 RBI combined between 2010 and 2011. He saw just 215 at-bats, and hit .228 BA, 7 HR, 36 RBI while playing all over the infield.
3/20: Acquired C Humberto Quintero and OF Jason Bourgeois from Houston for RP Kevin Chapman and OF D'Andre Toney.
With Salvador Perez on the shelf, the Royals acquired Quintero as a stop-gap option behind the plate, and he hit .232 BA, 1 HR, 19 RBI in 138 at-bats before being released in early July. Bourgeois didn't do much as a reserve, and the Astros likely got the best player in the deal in Chapman, who should be a future staple of their bullpen.
11/30: Acquired C Chris Iannetta from Colorado for SP Tyler Chatwood.
After suffering through a season of Jeff Mathis (.174 BA) as the starting catcher, the Angels added a legitimate offensive threat behind the plate in Iannetta. He hit .240 BA, 9 HR, 26 RBI, but was limited to just 79 games due to injury.
Still, that was enough for the team to sign him to a three-year, $15.5 million extension. Chatwood, meanwhile, had a tough season in Colorado but still has plenty of upside.
12/8: Signed 1B Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $240 million deal.
This signing looked like a disaster early on, as Pujols hit .194 and went without a home run though his first 27 games. He turned things around from there, though, and he used a .305 BA, 16 HR, 54 RBI second half to put up a solid line of .285 BA, 30 HR, 105 RBI on the season.
That said, the length of this deal is absurd and it is hard to imagine the Angels not regretting this when a 41-year-old Pujols is making $30 million in 2021. It'll all be worth it, though, if he can lead them to a championship in the next few seasons.
12/8: Signed SP C.J. Wilson to a five-year, $77.5 million deal.
Wilson won 31 games between 2010 and 2011 with the Rangers, his first two seasons in the starting rotation, and that was enough to make him one of the top arms on the market last offseason. He turned in a solid season as the Angels' No. 2 starter, going 13-10, 3.83 ERA, 173 Ks and making his second straight All-Star appearance.
1/6: Signed RP LaTroy Hawkins to a one-year, $3 million deal.
Hawkins turned in a bounce-back season with the Brewers in 2011 at the age of 38, and the Angels added him to fill out the back of their bullpen. He made 48 appearances, putting up a 3.64 ERA over 42 innings of work, mostly in the middle innings.
2/22: Signed RP Jason Isringhausen to a one-year, $650K deal.
Out of baseball in 2010, Isringhausen made a comeback with the Mets in 2011 and earned a big-league deal from the Angels last offseason. The former All-Star closer made 50 appearances, with a 4.14 ERA and provided a great value at the age of 39.
11/3: Re-Signed OF Juan Rivera to a one-year, $4 million deal.
Purchased from the Blue Jays at the deadline in 2011, Rivera hit .274 BA, 5 HR, 46 RBI in 62 games. That was enough for the Dodgers to bring him back on a one-year deal, and he hit .244 BA, 9 HR, 47 RBI over 312 at-bats platooning in left field.
11/15: Signed 2B Mark Ellis to a two-year, $8.75 million deal.
One of the few viable second base candidates on the free agent market, the Dodgers added Ellis following a solid stint with the Rockies in 2011. He hit .258 BA, 7 HR, 31 RBI and had a 2.4 WAR, and he will be the Dodgers starting second baseman again in 2012 unless something changes between now and Opening Day.
11/30: Signed IF Adam Kennedy to a one-year, $800K deal.
Signed as infield depth and a left-handed pinch-hitter, the 36-year-old Kennedy hit .262 BA, 2 HR, 16 RBI over 168 at-bats.
12/2: Signed SP Chris Capuano to a two-year, $10 million deal.
Capuano did not play in 2008 or 2009 and spent the 2010 season in the Brewers bullpen. However, he returned to starting and went 11-12 with a 4.55 ERA for the Mets in 2011 and that was enough for the Dodgers to take a chance on him.
He turned in a brilliant first half, going 9-4 with a 2.91 ERA and finished the season 12-12 with a 3.72 ERA in 33 starts.
12/5: Signed UT Jerry Hairston to a two-year, $6 million deal.
Hairston served as the Brewers everyday third baseman down the stretch in 2011, but returned to the utility role where he thrives in Los Angeles and hit .273 BA, 4 HR, 26 RBI over 238 at-bats while playing six positions in 2012.
12/8: Signed SP Aaron Harang to a two-year, $12 million deal.
Following three straight rough seasons in Cincinnati, Harang bounced back in 2011 while pitching in the pitcher's paradise that is Petco Park. The Dodgers took a chance on him carrying that success over, and he was solid, going 10-10 with a 3.61 ERA over 31 starts.
2/3: Signed RP Todd Coffey to a one-year, $1 million deal.
One of the most used relievers in the game from 2009-2011, Coffey appeared in 216 games and posted a 3.68 ERA over that stretch. He struggled to find a big-league contract though and eventually ended up with the Dodgers, where he had a 4.66 ERA over 23 appearances.
12/5: Signed RP Heath Bell to a three-year, $27 million deal.
Coming off of three straight 40-save seasons in San Diego, and after Jonathan Papelbon signed a four-year, $50 million deal, the Marlins appeared to get one of the steals of the offseason when they signed Bell for just $9 million per year.
He flopped hard, though, blowing four of his first seven save chances and finishing the season 19-of-27 on saves with a 5.09 ERA. The Marlins cut their losses and traded him to the Diamondbacks this offseason.
12/7: Signed SS Jose Reyes to a six-year, $106 million deal.
Reyes won the NL batting title in 2011, and was the biggest name on the market after sluggers Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. While he didn't match his 2011 numbers, he still hit a solid .287 BA, 11 HR, 57 RBI with 12 triples and 40 steals. Still, he was no doubt overpaid for a career year.
12/9: Signed SP Mark Buehrle to a four-year, $58 million deal.
After spending the first 12 seasons of his career with the White Sox, Buehrle joined the Marlins to add a needed veteran innings-eater to their rotation. He was his usual solid self, going 13-13 with a 3.74 ERA and reaching 200 innings for the 12th straight season.
1/5: Re-Signed 3B/UT Greg Dobbs to a two-year, $3 million deal.
Long one of the better utility players and pinch-hitters in the game, Dobbs saw a career-high 411 at bats in 2011 and responded with a .275 BA, 8 HR, 49 RBI line. That was enough for the Marlins to bring him back on a two-year deal, and he hit .285 BA, 5 HR, 39 RBI.
1/5: Acquired SP Carlos Zambrano and $15.5 million from Chicago for SP Chris Volstad.
With the cash that changed hand, the Marlins added a solid bounce-back candidate in Zambrano for $2.5 million and they didn't give up much in Volstad, who was horrible in the Cubs rotation.
Big Z got off to a great start, going 2-2 with a 1.96 ERA over his first eight starts, but it was all downhill from there and he wound up in the bullpen before the season was over. All told, he went 7-10 with a 4.49 ERA in 35 appearances (20 starts).
12/7: Re-Signed RP Francisco Rodriguez to a one-year, $8 million deal.
Rodriguez surprised many when he accepted the Brewers' qualifying offer, and while many expected Milwaukee to trade him, he spent all of the 2012 season in the Milwaukee bullpen. In 78 appearances, he had a 4.38 ERA and 9.0 K/9 while chipping in three saves.
12/9: Signed SS Alex Gonzalez to a one-year, $4.25 million deal.
Signed to replace Yuniesky Betancourt at shortstop, Gonzalez hit .259 BA, 4 HR, 15 RBI through his first 24 games before a knee injury ended his season in early May.
12/12: Acquired RP Jose Veras from Pittsburgh for IF Casey McGehee.
After he hit just .223 in 2011, the Brewers opted to trade McGehee rather than pay him in arbitration and they acquired a solid reliever in Veras from the Pirates, as he made 72 appearances and had a 3.63 ERA as perhaps the best arm in a bad Brewers bullpen. McGehee did little in 2012 to make the Brewers think twice about dealing him.
12/13: Signed 3B Aramis Ramirez to a three-year, $36 million deal.
The premier third baseman on the market, the Brewers signed Ramirez to help replace some of the production lost by the departure of Prince Fielder. While he didn't quite have a Fielder season, Ramirez was a great pickup as he hit .300 BA, 27 HR, 105 RBI with an NL-high 50 doubles.
1/17: Signed OF Norichika Aoki to a two-year, $2.5 million deal.
An under-the-radar signing from Japan, the Brewers won the right to negotiate with Aoki with a posting fee of $2.5 million. Expected to be a fourth outfielder, he quickly claimed a starting job and went on to hit .288 BA, 10 HR, 50 RBI with 30 steals in 520 at-bats.
11/11: Signed RP Jared Burton to a one-year, $750K deal.
After showing plenty of upside with the Reds early on in his career, Burton spent most of the 2010 and 2011 seasons either hurt or in the minors. The Twins took a chance on him with a major-league deal, and he made 64 appearances with a 2.18 ERA and five saves.
11/16: Signed 2B Jamey Carroll to a two-year, $6.75 million deal.
Carroll saw fairly regular playing time with the Dodgers in 2011 with Rafael Furcal injured, and he hit .290 over 452 at-bats with a .359 OBP. That was enough to earn him a multi-year deal from the Twins and he hit .268 BA, 1 HR, 40 RBI while playing all over the infield.
11/23: Signed C/DH Ryan Doumit to a one-year, $3 million deal.
Doumit had an up-and-down tenure with the Pirates, but had always shown solid offensive skills, so the Twins took a chance on him as their DH. He responded with a solid .275 BA, 18 HR, 75 RBI season that earned him a two-year, $7 million extension.
12/6: Re-Signed RP Matt Capps to a one-year, $4.75 million deal.
Capps was acquired at the deadline in 2010 for top catching prospect Wilson Ramos, and when he could not find a closing gig last offseason, he re-upped with the Twins and saved 14 games with a 3.68 ERA in 30 appearances.
12/15: Signed RF Josh Willingham to a three-year, $21 million deal.
After hitting .246 BA, 29 HR, 98 RBI in an anemic Oakland offense in 2011, the Twins signed Willingham with the hopes that surrounding him with a better supporting cast would boost his numbers. That it did, as he was one of the AL's top power threats with a .260 BA, 35 HR, 110 RBI line.
12/22: Signed SP Jason Marquis to a one-year, $3 million deal.
Looking to fill out the back of their rotation, the Twins added the veteran Marquis in hopes that he could eat some innings and win some games. He was 2-4 with an 8.47 ERA after seven starts when the Twins released him.
12/7: Acquired OF Andres Torres and RP Ramon Ramirez from San Francisco for OF Angel Pagan.
Hoping a change of scenery would allow Torres to return to his 2010 form (.268 BA, 16 HR, 63 RBI, 26 SB), the Mets swapped under-performing outfielders with the Giants and acquired a solid reliever in Ramirez as well. Instead, it was Pagan who had the bounce-back season, as Torres hit just .230 and Ramirez saw his ERA jump from 2.62 to 4.24.
12/7: Signed RP Jon Rauch to a one-year, $3.5 million deal.
Once a top starting pitching prospect with the White Sox, Rauch thrived following a move to the bullpen and he saved 32 games between 2010 and 2011. The Mets signed him as a setup man, and he had a 3.59 ERA and four saves over 73 appearances.
12/7: Signed RP Frank Francisco to a two-year, $12 million deal.
Francisco started his Mets tenure with a bang, saving the teams first three games of the season, but his ERA ballooned from there and while he converted 23-of-26 save chances on the season he did it with a 5.53 ERA.
1/11: Re-Signed OF Scott Hairston to a one-year, $1.1 million deal.
One of the best platoon outfielders in baseball, Hairston continued to destroy left-handed pitching in 2012 and set a career high with 20 home runs to go along with 57 RBI in just 377 at-bats.
1/13: Signed SS Ronny Cedeno to a one-year, $1.2 million deal.
Cedeno was signed to be the Mets utility infielder and he appeared in 78 games, hitting .259 BA, 4 HR, 22 RBI over 166 at-bats while playing second, shortstop and third base.
12/9: Re-Signed SP Freddy Garcia to a one-year, $4 million deal.
Garcia enjoyed a solid 2011 season with the Yankees, going 12-8 with a 3.62 ERA and that was enough for the Yankees to bring him back to fill out their rotation. He struggled to an 0-2 record and 12.51 ERA through his first four starts and was relegated to the bullpen, eventually finishing the season 7-6 with a 5.20 ERA in 30 games (17 starts).
12/31: Re-Signed OF Andruw Jones to a one-year, $2 million deal.
Jones performed well in the fourth outfielder role in 2011, hitting .247 BA, 13 HR, 33 RBI in 190 at bats, and the Yankees brought him back to fill the same role in 2012. His average slipped to .197, but his power was still there as he had 14 HR and 34 RBI in 233 at-bats.
1/23: Acquired SP Michael Pineda and SP Jose Campos from Seattle for C/DH Jesus Montero and SP Hector Noesi.
One of the biggest trades of the offseason, the Yankees dealt their top prospect to the Mariners for the promising Pineda who won nine games and made the All-Star team as a 22-year-old rookie in 2011.
Pineda was shelved for the year before he ever suited up though, and we won't know how this trade will really turn out until several years from now. Montero still has plenty of upside and Campos could be an impact arm as well.
1/26: Signed SP Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $10 million deal.
It took until the end of January, but the Yankees finally signed a free-agent pitcher in Kuroda. After four solid seasons with the Dodgers where his record rarely reflected how well he pitched, he finally got some run support in New York and went 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA as the team's No. 2 starter.
2.19: Acquired RP Diego Moreno and OF Exicardo Cayones from Pittsburgh for SP A.J. Burnett and $20 million.
Looking to shed some payroll, the Yankees managed to unload $13 million of the money they still owed Burnett on the Pirates, and while they did not receive much in return, it looked like a good deal nonetheless. Then Burnett proceeded to go 16-10 with a 3.51 ERA as the Pirates' best pitcher, and suddenly things didn't look quite so good.
2/21: Signed DH/OF Raul Ibanez to a one-year, $1.1 million deal.
Signed to be the starting DH, Ibanez wound up seeing significant time in left field after Brett Gardner went down with an injury and he hit .240 BA, 19 HR, 62 RBI over 384 at-bats. He then came up huge in the ALDS against the Orioles.
2/21: Re-Signed 3B Eric Chavez to a one-year, $900K deal.
Chavez saw limited action in 2011, hitting .263 BA, 2 HR, 26 RBI in 160 at-bats, but the Yankees brought him back to fill out their bench at the end of the offseason anyway. With expanded playing time, he had his best season in years in 2012 with a .281 BA, 16 HR, 37 RBI line over 278 at-bats.
3/16: Signed SP Andy Pettitte to a one-year, $2.5 million deal.
Looking for rotational depth, the Yankees brought Pettitte back after he sat out the 2011 season in retirement. He joined the rotation in May and went 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA in nine starts before a foot injury landed him on the DL.
He came back to go 2-1 with a 1.62 ERA in three September starts and then pitched well in a pair of postseason starts.
12/1: Signed 1B/OF Brandon Moss to minor-league deal.
Entering the 2012 season, Moss had a .236 BA, 15 HR, 78 RBI career line over 678 at-bats spanning five seasons for three different teams. The A's called him up on June 6 and he quickly played his way into the everyday first-base job, finishing the season with a .291 BA, 21 HR, 52 RBI line in just 82 games.
12/9: Acquired SP Jarrod Parker, RP Ryan Cook and OF Collin Cowgill from Arizona for SP Trevor Cahill and RP Craig Breslow.
The decision to trade Cahill was not well received, but he ended up netting the A's a terrific haul of players. Parker was the clear prize of the deal, and he went 13-8 with a 3.47 ERA while emerging as the ace of the A's staff. Cook, meanwhile, made the All-Star team as he had a 2.09 ERA and 14 saves over 71 appearances.
12/23: Acquired SP Tom Milone, SP Brad Peacock, SP A.J. Cole and C Derek Norris from Washington for SP Gio Gonzalez and SP Robert Gilliam.
Another trade that was tough to swallow for the Oakland fanbase at the time, Gonzalez put together a Cy Young caliber season in Washington, but the A's got their money's worth for him.
Milone went 13-10 with a 3.74 ERA over a team-high 31 starts. Peacock and Cole both have very bright futures and Norris stepped in as the everyday catcher after Kurt Suzuki was traded and figures to fill that role for the foreseeable future.
12/28: Acquired RF Josh Reddick, 1B Miles Head and P Raul Alcantara from Boston for RP Andrew Bailey and OF Ryan Sweeney.
It appeared the A's were asking a lot when the acquired Reddick and slotted him in the middle of the team's lineup, but he responded with a .242 BA, 32 HR, 85 RBI line and a Gold Glove to boot. Head hit .333 BA, 23 HR, 84 RBI as a 21-year-old between High Single-A and Double-A as he too looks to have a bright future.
1/5: Re-Signed CF Coco Crisp to a two-year, $14 million deal.
Crisp led the AL in steals in 2011 but hit just .264/.314/.379 atop the A's lineup. It was more of the same in 2012, as he hit .259/.325/.418 while stealing 39 bases, and there is little question he was overpaid.
1/16: Acquired OF Seth Smith from Colorado for SP Guillermo Moscoso and SP Josh Outman.
Given a chance to be an everyday player for the first time in his career, Smith battled injuries but still had a solid season with a .240 BA, 14 HR, 52 RBI line over 383 at-bats. The two arms the A's gave up both struggled mightily in Colorado, and given the team's depth were expendable.
1/24: Signed SP Bartolo Colon to a one-year, $2 million deal.
After a rebound season with the Yankees in 2011 in which he went 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA after not playing in 2009, Colon gave the A's a veteran presence in a young rotation while going 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA before a positive PED test ended his season.
1/26: Signed OF Jonny Gomes to a one-year, $1 million deal.
The A's knew what they were getting when they signed Gomes: a platoon outfielder with plus power and little else. He delivered more than they could have hoped, hitting .262 BA, 18 HR, 47 RBI over 279 at-bats.
2/13: Signed OF Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year, $36 million deal.
Cespedes was an intriguing but largely unknown commodity on the free agent market, the the A's took an uncharacteristic chance in signing him to a big-money deal. It was well worth it, though, as he hit .288 BA, 23 HR, 82 RBI, 16 SB and provided a much-needed power bat in the middle of the lineup.
11/4: Signed 1B Jim Thome to a one-year, $1.25 million deal.
Still plugging along at the age of 41, the Phillies signed Thome in hopes he could help hold down the first-base position until Ryan Howard returned. He hit .242 BA, 5 HR, 15 RBI in 30 games before being traded to the Orioles at the deadline.
11/14: Signed RP Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year, $50 million deal.
The Phillies spent big to lock down the ninth-inning role, and Papelbon was had his best season since 2009 as he converted 38-of-42 saves with a 2.44 ERA.
Big picture though: spending big to have a stud closer doesn't mean much when your team under performs and doesn't make the playoffs.
11/20: Acquired IF Ty Wigginton and $2 million from Colorado for a player to be named.
Looking for depth at the corner infield spots, the Phillies added Wigginton from the Rockies and he served as the team's everyday first baseman while Ryan Howard rehabbed his Achilles injury. He finished the season with a .235 BA, 11 HR, 43 RBI, which was decent production for the $2 million the Phillies were paying him.
12/19: Re-Signed SS Jimmy Rollins to a three-year, $33 million deal.
He's not the dynamic player he once was, but Rollins still represented the Phillies' best option at shortstop, and bringing him back on a three-year deal was a solid move. The 33-year-old hit .250 BA, 23 HR, 68 RBI with 30 steals, and he ranked as one of the team's few consistent offensive performers.
1/27: Signed OF Juan Pierre to a one-year, $800K deal.
After making $8.5 million in 2011, Pierre had to settle for a significantly lower figure to find a big-league job in 2012. Signed to be outfield depth, he worked his way into a starting job and finished the season with a .307 average and 37 steals.
11/10: Signed C Rod Barajas to a one-year, $4 million deal.
With double-digit home runs in seven of the previous eight seasons, Barajas was one of the better catching options on the free agent market in 2012, and the Pirates signed him early. He likely gave them exactly what they expected to get, hitting .206 BA, 11 HR, 31 RBI and playing average defense.
11/21: Signed SS Clint Barmes to a two-year, $10.5 million deal.
At the time of the Barmes signing, the move appeared to be one of the biggest over-pays of the offseason and a year he's done little to change that opinion. The 33-year-old ranked as one of the best defensive shortstops in the league with a 2.1 dWAR, but he provided nothing offensively with a .229 BA, 8 HR, 45 RBI line.
12/7: Signed SP Erik Bedard to a one-year, $4.5 million deal.
Bedard has battled injuries throughout his career, but when healthy he has good stuff. It showed during a solid 2011 season that saw him go 5-9 with a 3.62 ERA in 24 starts. He was unable to match that success in Pittsburgh, though, going 7-14 with a 5.01 ERA over 24 starts before being released in late-August.
12/12: Acquired IF Casey McGehee from Milwaukee for RP Jose Veras.
Searching for an insurance option for third baseman Pedro Alvarez, the Pirates sent a solid reliever to the Brewers for McGehee. He hit just .230 BA, 8 HR, 35 RBI in limited playing time before being traded to the Yankees.
2/1: Signed RP Juan Cruz to a one-year, $1.25 million deal.
Cruz has bounced around a lot during his 12-year big league career, enjoying varying levels of success along the way, and he earned a big-league deal with a solid 2011 season in Tampa. He was even better in 2012, with his best numbers since 2004, as he had a 2.78 ERA and 8.3 K/9 in 43 appearances.
2/19: Acquired SP A.J. Burnett and $20 million from New York (AL) for RP Diego Moreno and OF Exicardo Cayones
The Pirates gave up virtually nothing to get Burnett, as taking on $13 million of his remaining contract was the really all the Yankees wanted from the trade.
In a move that looked like a horrible idea from the start, Burnett wound up being one of the best pitchers in the NL in 2012, going 16-10 with a 3.51 ERA and 180 strikeouts, a steal at the $4 million the Pirates were paying him.
11/15: Signed OF Mark Kotsay to a one-year, $1.25 million deal.
The 36-year-old Kotsay was signed to be the Padres' fourth outfielder, and he hit .259 BA, 2 HR, 14 RBI over 143 at-bats. That was enough for the Padres to bring him back for $1.3 million this coming season.
12/7: Acquired RP Huston Street and $1 million from Colorado for SP Nick Schmidt.
In a cost-cutting move by the Rockies, the Padres picked up $6.5 million of Street's salary and gave up a 26-year-old minor league pitcher to get him.
The 28-year-old closer lowered his ERA over two points from 3.86 in 2011 to 1.85 in 2012, while saving 23 games and making the All-Star team. That earned him a two-year, $14 million extension with a $7 million option for a third year.
12/17: Acquired 1B Yonder Alonso, C Yasmani Grandal, SP Edinson Volquez and RP Brad Boxberger from Cincinnati for SP Mat Latos.
Dealing a young starter with as much potential as Latos always hurts, but the Padres got a terrific package for him. Alonso hit .273 BA, 9 HR, 62 RBI as a rookie first baseman, Grandal hit .297 BA, 8 HR, 36 RBI after being called up midseason, Boxberger had a 2.60 ERA in 24 appearances and the veteran of the group, Volquez, went 11-11 with a 4.14 ERA.
12/31: Acquired LF Carlos Quentin from Chicago (AL) for SP Pedro Hernandez and SP Simon Castro.
A spring-training injury kept Quentin from making his Padres debut until May 28, but he still managed to hit .261 BA, 16 HR, 46 RBI over 86 games. Expected to be moved at the deadline, the Padres signed him to a three-year, $27 million extension instead.
1/6: Acquired P Andrew Cashner, OF Kyung-Min Na from Chicago (NL) for 1B Anthony Rizzo and SP Zach Cates.
Looking to bolster their pitching staff, and with newly-acquired Yonder Alonso locked in at first base in the majors, the Padres dealt top prospect Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs for the electric right arm of Cashner. However, injuries limited Cashner to just five starts and his future appears to be in the bullpen.
Meanwhile, Rizzo annihilated minor league pitching, then hit .285 BA, 15 HR, 48 RBI in 87 games with the Cubs as he looks to be a future superstar.
11/7: Acquired OF Melky Cabrera from Kansas City for SP Jonathan Sanchez and SP Ryan Verdugo.
In a move that appeared to benefit both sides, the Giants added Cabrera, who was coming off of a .305 BA, 18 HR, 87 RBI season and the Royals got a high-upside arm in Sanchez to help their thin staff.
While Sanchez struggled, Cabrera thrived in San Francisco as he hit .346 BA, 11 HR, 60 RBI and won All-Star Game MVP before his season ended abruptly on Aug. 15 with a PED suspension. Still, there is no question the Giants won this one.
11/19: Signed OF Gregor Blanco to minor-league deal.
A career journeyman, the Giants signed Blanco to a minor-league deal and he broke camp as the team's fourth outfielder. He wound up playing in 141 games though, taking over as the starting left fielder after Cabrera was suspended and hitting .281 from then until the end of the season.
12/7: Acquired OF Angel Pagan from New York (NL) for OF Andres Torres and RP Ramon Ramirez.
This trade originally looked like it could go both ways, as both outfielders had down seasons in 2011 and could be in line for a bounce-back season with a change of scenery.
In the end, it was Pagan who bounced back as he hit .288 BA, 8 HR, 56 RBI out of the lead-off spot with an NL-high 15 triples and a 4.0 WAR. He's headed for a nice payday now as a free agent this offseason.
12/17: Signed RP Guillermo Mota to a one-year, $1 million deal.
The 38-year-old Mota has long been a reliable late-inning reliever, but he showed his age in 2012 as he had a 5.23 ERA over 26 appearances, despite a 10.5 K/9 mark.
1/26: Signed RP Clay Hensley to a one-year, $750K deal.
After a terrific 2010 season (68 G, 2.18 ERA), Hensley had a rough 2011 (37 G, 5.19 ERA) and he had to settle for what he could get as a result. While he didn't return to his 2010 form, he was better with a 4.62 ERA in 60 games.
11/27: Acquired C John Jaso from Tampa Bay for RP Josh Lueke.
Looking to bolster their bench, the Mariners acquired Jaso to serve as the backup catcher, giving up little to get him in the 27-year-old Lueke. Jaso managed to hit his way into regular playing time, finishing the year with a .276 BA, 10 HR, 50 RBI line as perhaps the Mariners' most consistent hitter.
12/30: Signed RP George Sherrill to a one-year, $1.1 million deal.
A former All-Star back in 2008 when he was closing for the Orioles, Sherrill had a solid 2011 season with the Braves, posting a 3.00 ERA in 51 games and as a left-hander that was enough to earn him a major-league deal.
He pitched just two games for the Mariners, though, allowing four earned runs in 1.1 innings of work.
1/5: Signed Hisashi Iwakuma to a one-year, $1.5 million deal.
Iwakuma was a highly sought-after option coming out of Japan prior to the 2011 season, as the A's won negotiating rights with a $19.1 million posting fee. However, they were unable to reach an agreement and he was free to sign anywhere in 2012.
The Mariners got him on a bargain one-year deal, and he went 9-5 with a 3.16 ERA in 30 games (16 starts). That earned him a two-year, $14 million extension.
1/23: Acquired C/DH Jesus Montero and SP Hector Noesi from New York (AL) for SP Michael Pineda and SP Jose Campos.
In desperate need of an offensive boost, the Mariners traded a pair of impressive young arms to land top catcher prospect Montero from the Yankees along with a rotation replacement for Pineda in Noesi.
Montero finished his rookie season with a .260 BA, 15 HR, 62 RBI line, while Noesi struggled to a 2-12 record and 5.82 ERA. We won't know who won this trade until a few years down the road, especially after Pineda missed all of 2012 with an arm injury.
1/24: Signed SP Kevin Millwood to a one-year, $1 million deal.
Brought aboard as depth, Millwood ended up making 28 starts for the Mariners, going 6-12 with a 4.25 ERA. He was by no means an ace, but on a $1 million deal, he ate some innings and gave the Mariners a chance to win when he took the ball.
12/12: Re-Signed SS Rafael Furcal to a two-year, $14 million deal.
The Cardinals acquired Furcal from the Dodgers at the deadline in 2011, and he helped shore up their infield and served as catalyst atop their lineup on the way to a World Series title. That was enough to earn him a two-year extension.
He was great early, hitting .333 through the end of May and making the All-Star team, but he fell off in the second half and was lost for the season to injury on Aug. 30.
12/23: Signed RF Carlos Beltran to a two-year, $26 million deal.
After an up-and-down seven years with the Mets, Beltran was traded to the Giants at the deadline in 2011 and he hit .323 BA, 7 HR, 18 RBI down the stretch to help boost his free agency stock.
He proved to be a great addition to the Cardinals' lineup, and while he fell off after a monster first half, he still finished the year with a .269 BA, 32 HR, 97 RBI line.
11/28: Signed C Jose Molina to a one-year, $1.5 million deal.
Signed early in the offseason as catching depth, Molina wound up being the Rays' starting catcher when they failed to add anyone else during the course of the offseason. He brought his usual solid defense while hitting .228 BA, 8 HR, 32 RBI in 102 games.
12/12: Acquired RP Burke Badenhop from Miami for C Jake Jefferies
The Rays added a proven reliever in Badenhop and didn't give up much to get him as Jefferies doesn't project as much more than organizational depth. After appearing in 50-plus games the previous two seasons, Badenhop had the best year of his career with a 3.03 ERA over 66 appearances in 2012.
1/4: Signed RP Fernando Rodney to a two-year, $4.25 million deal.
Plucked off the scrap heap, Rodney was thrust into the closer's role after Kyle Farnsworth was injured, and he was phenomenal as he recorded 48 saves with a minuscule 0.60 ERA and 9.2 K/9. The team picked up their option on him for 2013, and he's an absolute steal at $2.5 million.
1/12: Signed DH/OF Luke Scott to a one-year, $5 million deal.
Scott was a force for the Orioles from 2008-2010, averaging a line of .266 BA, 25 HR, 71 RBI, but an injury-plagued 2011 season left him with few suitors on the free-agent market. The Rays eventually signed him to DH, but injuries again cut into his season and he hit just .229 BA, 14 HR, 55 RBI in 96 games.
1/24: Signed 1B Carlos Pena to a one-year, $7.25 million deal.
After spending the 2011 season with the Cubs, Pena returned to the scene of his greatest success in Tampa. He put up similar numbers to what he did the previous two seasons in 2012, with a .197/.330/.354 slash line.
He has decent power, gets on base and plays great defense, but that's it at this point.
1/27: Signed IF Jeff Keppinger to a one-year, $1.53 million deal.
Signed as a utility infielder, Keppinger got 385 at-bats and made the most of them with a .325 BA, 9 HR, 40 RBI line as one of the Rays' few consistent hitters. He spent much of his time at third base filling in for the injured Evan Longoria.
11/21: Signed RP Joe Nathan to a two-year, $14.5 million deal.
After missing the 2010 season to Tommy John surgery and looking far from his once-dominant self in 2011 with a 4.84 ERA, Nathan was a question mark on the free-agent market. The Rangers acted fast in signing him though, and with Neftali Feliz headed to the rotation slotted him in the closer's role.
He saved 37 games with a 2.80 ERA and made the All-Star team, as he was once again among the league's best stoppers.
1/18: Purchased Yu Darvish from Nippon-Ham Fighters for $51.7 million, signed to a six-year, $56 million deal.
The most intriguing international target since Dice-K, and viewed by most as the better prospect, the Rangers paid big to land Darvish and he enjoyed a stellar rookie season.
In 29 starts, he went 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA and 221 strikeouts (10.4 K/9), as he made the All-Star team and finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting.
12/3: Acquired C Jeff Mathis from Los Angeles (AL) for P Brad Mills.
Looking for catching depth behind starter J.P. Arencibia, the Blue Jays picked up the defensive-minded Mathis for a dispensable pitcher in Mills. Mathis saw more playing time than expected when injury struck, and he finished the season with a .218 BA, 8 HR, 27 RBI line over 211 at-bats.
12/6: Acquired RP Sergio Santos from Chicago (AL) for SP Nestor Molina
A converted shortstop, Santos emerged as a dominant closer for the White Sox in 2011 with 30 saves and a 13.1 K/9 mark.
The Blue Jays gave up a solid pitching prospect in Molina to land him, but he managed just six April appearances in which he blew 2-of-4 save chances, before he was out for the season with an injury.
1/1: Acquired RP Jason Frasor from Chicago (AL) for RP Daniel Webb and SP Myles Jaye.
After spending the first seven and a half seasons of his career with the Blue Jays, Frasor was traded to the White Sox at the deadline in 2011. The team re-acquired him in the offseason for a pair of low-level prospects, and he made 50 appearances with a 4.12 ERA.
1/9: Signed RP Darren Oliver to a two-year, $7 million deal.
Oliver gave his career a second wind when he converted to the bullpen back in 2006, and since then he has made 410 appearances and posted a 2.86 ERA over 459.2 innings of work. He posted the lowest ERA of his career this past season at 2.06, appearing in 62 games as the age of 41.
1/17: Re-Signed 2B Kelly Johnson to a one-year, $6.38 million deal.
With few options on the free-agent market, the Blue Jays re-upped with Johnson hoping he could regain his Diamondbacks form when he had back-to-back 20 home run seasons. While he showed good power with 16 HR and 55 RBI, he hit just .225.
1/23: Signed IF Omar Vizquel to a one-year, $750K deal.
At 45, Vizquel was still a terrific fielder and a viable option as a middle infielder when he joined the Blue Jays. He hit .235 BA, 0 HR, 7 RBI while playing five different positions before hanging it up at the end of the season.
2/1: Signed RP Francisco Cordero to a one-year, $4.5 million deal.
After saving 150 games in four seasons with the Reds, the 37-year-old Cordero didn't receive much interest on the free-agent market before signing with the Blue Jays in February to be a setup man.
He struggled to a 5.77 ERA in 41 games before being traded to the Astros at the deadline, and he'll likely have even more trouble finding a job this winter.
11/4: Re-Signed SP Chien-Ming Wang to a one-year, $4 million deal.
Wang showed enough coming back from injury in 2011, when he went 4-3 with a 4.04 ERA in 11 starts, that the Nationals brought him back on another one-year deal. He was injured again, though, and managed a 6.68 ERA in 10 games (five starts) when he was healthy.
12/23: Acquired SP Gio Gonzalez from Oakland for SP Tom Milone, SP Brad Peacock, SP A.J. Cole and C Derek Norris.
It cost them a ton, but the Nationals got the frontline starter they wanted in Gonzalez when they pulled off this blockbuster with the A's. Gonzalez was locked up on a five-year, $42 million extension following the trade, and that proved to be a steal as he went 21-8 with a 2.89 ERA and is a legitimate NL Cy Young candidate.
1/26: Signed RP Brad Lidge to a one-year, $1 million deal.
After putting together back-to-back solid seasons in Philadelphia with a combined 2.49 ERA in 75 games, Lidge hit the open market with far greater value than he'd had a few years prior when he first lost the closer's job with the Phillies.
The Nationals signed him to be a middle reliever, but he was released in June after posting a 9.64 ERA in 11 appearances.
2/2: Signed SP Edwin Jackson to a one-year, $11 million deal.
Unable to find anyone willing to give him the multi-year deal that he and agent Scott Boras were seeking, Jackson settled on a one-year deal to fill out the Nationals rotation and attempt to boost his stock for the following offseason. He went 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA in 31 starts, and remains a durable middle-of-the-rotation option with some upside for more.