MLB Hot Stove: 10 Under-the-Radar Signings That Will Pay Huge Dividends

Rey JeffersonContributor IJanuary 30, 2011

MLB Hot Stove: 10 Under-the-Radar Signings That Will Pay Huge Dividends

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    Coming off a crazy/exciting offseason, the MLB season is slowly upon us. Big moves were made in both the NL and AL, highlighted by Philadelphia Phillies signing Cliff Lee and Boston Red Sox signing Carl Crawford. Here’s a list of the top 10 under-the-radar signings that will pay huge dividends this season.

10.) Rick Ankiel Signs with the Washington Nationals

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    Remember when Ankiel was a wild pitcher who couldn't’t throw a strike? He then reinvented himself as an outfielder in 2005. You wouldn't’t think that Ankiel and Babe Ruth are the only players to start a postseason game as a pitcher and hit a home run in the postseason as a position player.

9.) Jeff Francoeur Signs with the Kansas City Royals

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    The strong-armed outfielder is on the move again, as Francoeur agreed to sign a one-year $2.5 million dollar deal with the Royals.

    Francoeur said he wanted to "get back to having fun." Hopefully this year "Frenchy" will get back to playing well.

8.) Lyle Overbay Signs with the Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Overbay has been a pretty healthy player throughout his entire career. Overbay will be an upgrade for the Pirates at first-base with his solid glove. In Pittsburgh, Overbay will be reunited with his third base coach from his days in Toronto (Nick Leyva). 

7.) Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez Sign with the Tampa Bay Rays

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    After losing much of its core, Tampa Bay finally made some moves as the Rays went out and signed both Damon and Ramirez.

    The Rays needed offensive help after losing Crawford, Jason Bartlett and Carlos Pena this offseason and they're hoping that Damon and Ramirez will help them with that.

6.) Derrek Lee Signs with the Baltimore Orioles

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    Lee was bothered by a bad thumb all last year in Atlanta. Supposedly Lee is fully healthy now, plus he has a solid lineup around him and he'll be playing in a hitter’s ballpark; this all means that Lee is primed to have a bounce-back season.

5.) Adrian Beltre Signs with the Texas Rangers

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    It seems like after Lee decided to sign with the Phillies, most of the money that the Rangers would have given to Lee was passed along to Beltre. This is a move that top teams in the AL (like the New York Yankees) may regret come October.

4.) Victor Martinez Signs with the Detroit Tigers

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    One thing is certain: Martinez can swing the bat. Signing Martinez is going to help boost the Tigers' lineup by giving Miguel Cabrera some much-needed help.

3.) Rafael Soriano Signs with the New York Yankees

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    After losing out on the best free agent pitcher available in Lee, the Yankees decided to strengthen their bullpen by adding Soriano. He joins Mariano Rivera, Pedro Feliciano, David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain to form one of the best bullpens in all of baseball.

2.) Jayson Werth Signs with the Washington Nationals

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    Overshadowed by the big signings of Lee and Crawford, the slugging right fielder signed the richest contract in franchise history. Werth will be a centerpiece of the Nationals' offense for years to come.

1.) Dan Uggla Signs with the Atlanta Braves

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    After finally being traded from the Florida Marlins to the Braves in November, Uggla would finish the season in Atlanta. This offseason Uggla re-signed with the Braves to the tune of five years, $62 million dollars. Uggla’s extension is the highest average annual salary for a second baseman in MLB history.