It is amazing, during the cold months of winter, how many exciting things happen in the world of sports.
For MLB fans, the free-agent market opens its doors and owners across the league talk both trades and signings.
Rumors persist while fans await their team's time-dwindling decisions. Futures are changed, careers made or bust, and expectations begin to grow.
Managers and GMs are judged by their abilities to bring in a host of fresh talent. And if you are an organization motivated to lock up high-character guys, then these 10 listed are the free agents just for you.
The man with the larger-than-life grin and a legendary approach at the plate is nearing his retirement. A lock as a Hall of Fame candidate, his career has totaled 449 home runs, one MVP award and a .318 average.
Without question, the man is one of the greats of his generation, but quietly so. His intoxicating personality mixed with that round grin is what makes Vladdy so great.
And though he's clearly lost a step or two, his body is breaking down and the man does not have that once-in-a-lifetime bad speed anymore, the 36-year-old still seeks that elusive World Series ring, the very thing that takes a player from good to great in an instant.
And though I'd argue Vladdy already is "great," I think most of us would agree he needs a ring to cap off an All-Star career.
Since leaving Anaheim in 2009, the brute of a DH has shown signs he's worthy of ongoing one-year deals. Two years split between Texas and Baltimore have totaled .295 with 44 home runs and 178 RBI.
He can be had for a cheap and expected upon to play hard night in and night out. Plus you get a quiet locker-room giant with a heart of gold.
When you admire a player with an old-fashioned approach to the game, a base-stealing lefty with a slap stick set of stirrups, you admire Juan Pierre.
Over his 12-year career, the 34-year-old has never received the praise he should have, with zero All-Star appearances.
But it hardly phases the man. He bounces from team to team doing what Juan Pierre does best, play baseball.
And while the league continues to disrespect the lifetime .296 hitter with an average of 49.8 stolen bases per season over his quietly consistent career, the star continues to change team cultures with an impeccable work ethic.
Most notable: his 2009 performance in Dodgers blue. With Manny Ramirez out with a quandary of injuries, Pierre stepped in and delivered. What seemed like a downward spiraling career turned into a rebirth.
Pierre hit .308 and was second on the team with 30 stolen bases. The Dodgers responded by making their first deep run in the NL playoffs in quite sometime.
Forty-year-old Jorge Posada is one of the greatest catchers in the history of baseball. And while many argue on behalf of other greats like Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra, I argue on behalf of Posada.
Not only has the Puerto Rico native been behind the plate in Yankees pinstripes for five World Series rings, but done so with grace, humility and professionalism.
He's been the rock that holds it all together in what can be a stew of discontent in the bright lights of New York City.
Over his long career, Posada has been named to five All-Star games and twice finished in the top five in MVP voting.
Though he is nearing his end, the veteran would bring leadership and a winning disposition to any clubhouse next season.
As funny as it sounds, for a long time I didn't understand why everyone freaked over Jimmy Rollins. But obviously, now years later, I clearly do.
The 5'8" pipsqueak has been ring leading the Phillies for 12 years, with three Gold Gloves and one MVP award.
His veteran presence is the entity that has gelled their current dream team roster, while his business-like approach to the game is a perfect representation of the Phillies in the media.
I hope someone picks up the 33-year-old. He's got plenty of speed left on the base paths and, most importantly, a champion's pedigree.
Rick Ankiel's story proves how much the man loves the game.
Beginning his career as a pitcher, Ankiel never really thrived. Despite an 11-win season with the Cardinals in 2001, the 6'2" lefty bat was overmatched in the pros. Twice the veteran spent long bouts of time in the minors only to resurface again years later.
Since taking on more of a full-time hitting role as a center fielder in 2007, Ankiel has been far from spectacular.
But what has made Ankiel stand out is his willingness to play any position anywhere and the wherewithal to do it soundly.
Though Ankiel has hit only .251 since 2007, his solid glove is a perfect fit as a utility player on anyone's roster.
Darren Oliver is a 41-year-old middle relief pitcher who seems to get better with age. A journeyman whose spent time with eight different teams, the veteran is a perfect compliment to any roster in need of relief.
Originally a starter, and decently good at that, Oliver was officially converted to his relief role in 2004 with the Marlins.
Highlights in the one-time starter's career includes a dominant 14-6 campaign with the Rangers in 1996. Since 2005, Oliver has sat as a centralized part in a relief core, and dominated with a 2.97 ERA.
He played an integral part in this year's World Series participant, the Texas Rangers, and looks to still have some years left in the tank.
As much heat as star DH Hideki Matsui has taken the last two years with the Angels and A's, the man has been resolve in his disciplinarian style of play.
His left-handed power bat has dwindled since his glorious Yankees days, but Matsui still shows flashes at times of the old "Godzilla" who sat in the middle of New York's lineup and hit with high, consistent averages.
The two-time All-Star, with a lifetime average of .285, won one World Series with the Yankees. He has a boatload of postseason experience to help mentor any youngster and a humble personality to do it with.
The mere fact that Roy Oswalt, one of the league's most dominant pitchers of the 21 century, played so many years committed to an average-at-best Astros team, proves his love and commitment to the great game of baseball.
The man is a winner.
Oswalt has compiled two 20-win seasons and a record of 159-93 over 11 seasons, yet has no Cy Young Award to show for it.
That doesn't deter him. He keeps on pitching. And while the 34-year-old has battled injuries the last two years, you'd be a dummy to think this consummate professional's career is over.
Make no mistake about it, Eric Chavez at one point was one of the best third basemen in baseball.
If injuries hadn't derailed the fire-slinger at third, I have a feeling we'd be considering him as a would-be Hall of Fame candidate, a multiple-time MVP and an ongoing All-Star.
His many years of service to a small organization in Oakland proved the man's heart of faithfulness. His love and passion for the game could be seen by his lay-it-all-on-the-line web gems at third.
Now 34 years of age, Chavez will be looking to lockup with a team that offers him a shot at a starting job and an opportunity to play consistently.
If you have ever watched Cody Ross in left field, you will know just how heart-stopping he can truly be.
Ross is the type of outfielder who takes away hits and home runs. His bat is average, but his fun fiery personality on defense proves he's more in love with the game than he is his own statistics.
At 30 years of age, there is still time to see whether Ross can develop into a better hitter. Whether he can or he can't, his work ethic defensively should never be questioned.
He's a worthy grab for any team in need of lengthening their bench or getting a bang for their buck on a legitimate starter.