There was a flurry of player movement leading up to the 2013 MLB season, and several of the game’s biggest stars will be starting a new chapter in their careers.
Batting titles and Cy Young awards were not enough to convince a few ballclubs to bring back a player who has been a key contributor in recent years. But baseball is a business, and one team’s loss is another’s gain.
There were franchises waiting to pounce on any available superstar, hoping to add the final piece to put together a World Series run.
Here are the stars that changed teams in the offseason who will go on to have stellar years.
Josh Hamilton, OF, Los Angeles Angels
Pitchers in the AL West were likely angry when they found out that Hamilton was heading to the Angels.
The thought of having to pitch to Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Hamilton in succession is a nightmare for any player standing on the mound.
While Pujols struggled last season with a slash line of .285/.343/.516, he is still one of the great hitters of his generation and will be looking to have a bounce-back year. Having Hamilton, who hit 43 home runs last season, batting next to him will be a big help.
If Pujols is able to improve, pitchers will not be able to pitch around him, Trout or Hamilton, and all three players will have fantastic seasons.
R.A. Dickey, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
Dickey’s Cy Young-winning 2012 season was extremely surprising, and questions still persist about whether he will be able to continue his success at 38 years old.
But the knuckleballer’s unorthodox style takes pressure off of his arm, and according to FanGraphs.com, he uses his signature pitch over 85 percent of the time. This will allow him to extend his career.
Few pitchers can get away with such a predictable selection, but the knuckleball itself is what keeps players guessing. When it gets over the plate, it is nearly impossible to hit, and Dickey throws the pitch with remarkable accuracy.
He is a unique player and that frustrates batters. Although he went from the New York Mets to the Toronto Blue Jays, he will continue dominating on the mound.
Zack Greinke, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
After making the drastic change from the Milwaukee Brewers to the Los Angeles Angels last season, Greinke will only need to take a short trip up Interstate-5 to reach his new home with the Dodgers.
He will join 2011 Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw on L.A.’s pitching staff. If Greinke can contribute at an All-Star level, the Dodgers will have one of the most dominant groups of hurlers in baseball.
Although he has been dealing with elbow issues in the offseason, the team’s depth at pitcher will allow him to take his time to fully recover.
When he is ready to start throwing, he is in the perfect situation to start dominating for the Dodgers.