MLB Hot Stove: Winners and Losers from the Winter Meetings

Matt BauerCorrespondent IIDecember 8, 2011

MLB Hot Stove: Winners and Losers from the Winter Meetings

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    Teams can assess whether or not they won or lost after the annual MLB Winter Meetings, but that doesn't mean these teams are guaranteed to have a winning or losing season.

    As expected, the MLB Winter Meetings have caused a quake around the baseball world, and it's safe to say that there are a number of winners as well as losers from the moves that took place in Dallas, Texas.

    Everyone and their mothers were waiting on Albert Pujols to be signed, so those teams that were interested in Pujols could assess and implement "Plan B" once they lost the bidding war.

    There were various minor acquisitions made throughout four days the media and baseball executives spent in Dallas for the winter meetings, but all of the attention goes to the big-name players and the teams that acquired them during the winter meetings.

    As of now, there are a number of happy individuals around the league and fanbases, and there are definitely a number of frustrated, unhappy and irritable people who've paid close attention to the moves that have been made over the last few days.

Winner: Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim

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    For one, Albert Pujols is definitely a winner after all is said and done at the MLB Winter Meetings.  Pujols is, in fact, no machine; he's just Albert.  And Albert is about to eat like a grown man.

    According to the Los Angeles Times, Pujols' deal with the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim is worth $250 million over the next 10 years.  Not bad for a guy turning 32 years old in January.

    Pujols has a full no-trade clause in his contract, and if something were to go wrong with his ability to perform in the field he's still able to DH on a regular basis. 

    The Angles also acquired C.J. Wilson, the southpaw starting pitcher who's spent the last seven years with the Texas Rangers.  According to, Wilson's deal is worth $75 million over the next five years.

    Wilson, a Newport Beach native, gets to go home and continue his MLB career now that he's signed with the Angles.

    I'd say the Angles did well, no matter what other moves they make prior to the start of MLB's regular season.

Loser: Chicago White Sox

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    Chicago White Sox GM Kenny Williams made a trade in the early stages of the winter meetings that sent the Sox's closer, Sergio Santos, to the Toronto Blue Jays for a young, right-handed pitcher out of Toronto's minor league system named Nestor Molina.

    Despite Santos' up-and-down season in 2011, I was a big fan of what he could do when he brought his A-game to the field.

    Santos has a nasty slider, but doesn't have the best control.

    Considering the White Sox are trying to rebuild, I guess Williams could have made a worse move than trading away the 28-year-old closer to Toronto.

    To top it all off for the White Sox and their fans, Mark Buehrle didn't re-sign with the team he's spent his entire career with—the team he won a World Series with in 2005, threw a perfect game and no-hitter for, and won three consecutive Gold Glove Awards with in his 12 years on the South Side of Chicago.

    Not only did Buehrle not re-sign with the White Sox, but he decided to take his talents to South Beach and join Ozzie Guillen and the Miami Marlins for the next four years.

Winner: Mark Buehrle

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    Mark Buehrle got paid at the winter meetings by the Miami Marlins, and Miami gave him money that no other team would've given him.  According to the Miami Herald, Miami handed Buehrle a four-year, $58.5 million contract.  That means Buehrle is making $14.5 million in each of the next four seasons.

    Not only did Buehrle get paid, but he's reunited with his boy, and manager, Ozzie Guillen.

    Buehrle and Ozzie were both big factors in the success that led to the Chicago White Sox's World Series Championship in 2005.

    If all else fails in Miami, at least Buehrle has some entertainment that's provided by his manager, Ozzie Guillen.

    What else does Buehrle have to accomplish in his MLB career?  That's right—nada.

Loser: David Ortiz

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    David Ortiz accepted arbitration from the Boston Red Sox, and that means that Big Papi will remain a part of the Red Sox for at least one more season.

    I'm not quite sure why Papi decided to accept arbitration.

    Considering the services that the 36-year-old DH can provide for any team with deep pockets, it's a little confusing, especially considering the downfall that occurred in Boston leading up to Terry Francona's resignation.

    Maybe Ortiz knew he wasn't going to get the money he desired from another team.  Maybe Ortiz is going to take advantage of the 2012 season and have an MVP-like season that could earn him a fat deal prior to 2013.

    That's hard to believe considering Big Papi isn't getting any younger, but he has an advantage being a DH.

Winner: Ozzie Guillen and Miami Marlins

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    Ozzie Guillen has to be one of the happiest people in all of baseball after the moves the Miami Marlins made during the winter meetings.

    Miami signed a partner in crime for Guillen in Jose Reyes, who's as happy as Ozzie is when all is going well, and as long as Reyes can stay healthy that signing has the potential to be one of the best acquisitions in years throughout the MLB.

    To top it all off for Ozzie, the Miami Marlins acquired Guillen's homeboy from the South Side.  Mark Buehrle was signed by Miami, and Buehrle has the ability to help Ozzie lead the Marlins from the outhouse to the penthouse, on the field and off.

    I guess Ozzie knew what he was doing all along when he left the Chicago White Sox and took his talent to South Beach to revitalize a much-needed Miami Marlins baseball team.

    Miami also signed a legit All-Star closer in Heath Bell. According to the Palm Beach Post, Bell's contract is worth $27 million over the three years.  Bell saved at least 40 games in each of the last three seasons for a sub-par San Diego Padres team.

    You know Ozzie is smiling ear to ear right about now.

Honorable Mention: Chicago Cubs

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    Theo Epstein has brought a new culture to the Chicago Cubs organization that Jim Hendry lacked during his tenure on the North Side.

    Hendry always had money to spend, so he made it seems like he absolutely had to spend that money just because it was sitting in his pocket.  Hendry looked to find a way for the Cubs to win right now, opposed to planning for the future.

    Epstein is doing the opposite.  The Cubs have given Epstein the go-ahead to make whatever moves he feels would benefit the organization. 

    Theo hasn't forced any acquisitions just to spend the money the Cubs have provided him with.  Rather, he's planning for the future and won't acquire anyone just to do so because it won't help in the Cubs' long-term plans.

    Not only has Epstein not forced any signings, but Albert Pujols is no longer in the NL Central.  That shrinks a large gap for the Chicago Cubs that they've struggled with the last few years in trying to best the St. Louis Cardinals.

    Although Epstein and the Cubs didn't make a big splash in free agency at the winter meetings, they didn't get pressured into making a risky signing.

    Well done, Cubbies.  It's about time change came to the North Side.