Everyone knows baseball games are won on the field, but winning games is made easier if a team has a good general manager. The offseason is a busy time for front offices, as they try to construct teams that will be competitive during the coming season.
This year there have been four GMs who have really made a statement about the direction they are taking their team and have delivered with big home runs.
Since Jerry Dipoto took over as general manager in October of 2011, he has signed the top hitter each of the past two seasons. Albert Pujols was brought on board last season and Josh Hamilton has agreed to join the team this season.
The Angels have now put together a pretty impressive lineup that includes Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. Dipoto could have hit a grand slam if he had found a way to keep Zack Greinke. But even with that loss, it was still a successful offseason.
It's no secret that the Yankees are in win-now mode with a number of their recent legends getting toward the end of their careers. The Yankees did not make a big splash this offseason, but did make a number of under-the-radar moves that should make them competitive in 2013.
The Yankees were able to bring back starting pitchers Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda, closer Mariano Rivera and outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, who had a resurgence in the Bronx last year. They also were able to get Kevin Youkilis, who will fill in for Alex Rodriguez while he heals from hip surgery.
There is still time for Cashman to make a big move, like swinging a trade for Justin Upton, but bringing in the veterans he has should keep the Bronx Bombers in playoff contention and near the top of the AL East.
The New York Mets are taking a different approach to this offseason, as they are building for the future. But that doesn't mean Sandy Alderson hasn't been successful. Alderson hit a big home run with his trade of R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays.
It's not easy to trade a reigning Cy Young award winner, but with the current state of the Mets, it should pay off for the team. Dickey only had one year remaining on his current contract and contract negotiations for a star player can become a big distraction for a franchise, especially during the season.
One of the big reasons they were winners in this trade, though, was who they got back in return. According to this list by Baseball America, the Mets got the Blue Jays' top overall prospect in catcher Travis d'Arnaud and top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard. Both these players should play a key role for this team in the coming years.
It has not been a complete rebuild process, though, as the Mets did open up the checkbook and lock up franchise player David Wright through 2020.
There has been no team more active this offseason than the Toronto Blue Jays and GM Alex Anthopoulos. He started this offseason off with a bang, completing a blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins that brought Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio north of the border.
This trade alone would have qualified as a great offseason for most teams; however, Anthopoulos was not done there, as he went out and signed Melky Cabrera to a two-year deal worth $16 million. Cabrera was coming off a career season and was in the discussions for NL MVP before being suspended for PEDs toward the end of the 2012 season. This was a low-risk/high-reward move that could end up paying huge dividends next year.
Again, he could have sat back and told himself job well done, as he greatly improved the team after the Marlins trade and Cabrera signing. That wasn't the case, though, as he continued his aggressive ways by trading for the reigning NL Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey and signing him to a three-year extension.
There has not been this much excitement around the Toronto Blue Jays in probably 20 years, and Alex Anthopoulos deserves the credit for putting this team in position to go from the AL East cellar to champions.