The week of MLB winter meetings have come and gone, and there have been major shockers so far. Everyone figured Albert Pujols would either end up in St. Louis or Miami, but he ended up as a member of the Angels.
That was just one of the many stories throughout the meetings, which turned the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim into a star-studded team. The meetings were great for Miami as well, who snagged a myriad of top-level free agents for themselves.
Heading further into free agency, what is each team's juiciest storyline?
The Orioles made a few moves to try a bolster a starting rotation that was embarrassing for most of the year. Their major pitching acquisition, however, was Dana Eveland. He had a decent year in five starts for the Dodgers last year, but can't seem to consistently stay in the majors.
I can't see that being the only pitching pickup, and would have to think they will add more. General manager Dan Duquette wants to finish at .500 in 2012, and they are not going to do it with the staff they have now.
After a dynamic 2010, the Red Sox planned to be more subtle in their 2011 winter meetings, and that's what they have done so far, re-signing David Ortiz but not doing too much else.
While they absolutely need starting pitching, they are contemplating making Daniel Bard a starter due to his abilities and a deep closer market. It would be a great move if it paid off, but it's a risky one. The direction they choose to go on this will decide how the rest of the offseason goes.
The Yankees went through the first week of winter meetings not signing any major free agents, and the only main pickup was Cesar Cabral, who could be a second lefty reliever behind Boone Logan.
I would think they would want one more starting pitcher to be on the safe side after their pickups lucked out last year. Besides, it's weird to see the Yankees not picking up any big names, seeing as how they're the Yankees.
The Tampa Bay Rays lost a lot of players last offseason, yet still managed to win the AL Wild Card thanks to a strong pitching staff. There has been talk both of trading players like B.J. Upton for pieces and talk about making some moves to stay in the playoff hunt.
Either way, the Rays do have holes to fill, such as possibly re-signing Johnny Damon and signing a first baseman; for them, the excitement comes during the season when we see what this small market team can do.
The Toronto Blue Jays felt like they were everywhere in free agent discussions over the past few weeks, and yet the only progress being made was Kelly Johnson accepting arbitration and trading for Sergio Santos, which was odd since there are far better closers on the market.
Will they end up trading for Gio Gonzalez or signing Yu Darvish, both of which have been rumored? I'm not as high on Toronto's moves as many are, and I'd like for them to prove me wrong.
The Chicago White Sox are in rebuilding mode, as evident by a new manager and the departure of their ace. However, aside from trading closer Sergio Santos, not too much else has happened with the White Sox, and they have many players signed.
As they are rebuilding, are any players under contract in line to be traded? I have not heard much, and it seems like they're half-rebuilding, which has worked a total of zero times in baseball. Either sign a couple quality players or start the fire sale; which is it?
The Indians were not expected to make a splash in free agency as they try to improve on 2011, and they did not. Instead, they ware waiting to see what kind of power bat they can acquire to provide a spark in the lineup.
The offseason could end up being a big one later on, as the Indians proved last year they weren't messing around, trading the farm for Ubaldo Jimenez. That likely won't happen again, but if they get just the right piece, particularly at first base, it could work wonders.
The Tigers' main move during the winter meetings was signing Octavio Dotel, giving them a deep bullpen to go with a great lineup. Obviously, they want to sign Yoenis Cespedes, but are they set otherwise?
The answer to me is obviously no, as they still need to sign a fifth starter. There are plenty out there that could be better than Brad Penny last year, though, so it's likely not a major concern. The Tigers feel like a lock to win the AL Central, so they don't need to do anything big.
The Royals have made few moves this offseason so far, and from how things sound, they don't plan to do too much. Yes, they'd like an extra starter and some relief depth, but other than that, next year's group seems set.
Is this the makings of a great season for the Royals to propel them over .500, or is this holding off on further rebuilding to see how prospects play? That will be interesting to see.
After a terrible 2011 season, the Twins are at a crossroads. They still have Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, but could lose Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer to free agency. If Cuddyer in particular is gone, what does that means for the Twins looking ahead?
Besides getting rid of Kevin Slowey, the Twins pitching hasn't been improved, and that needs a few quality additions as well. The most they can hope for is that they can bounce back, because the issues from 2011 aren't fixable in just one year.
The Angels signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson this past week, giving them perhaps the best rotation in the American League and turning their lineup into a force as well.
They already had 86 wins last year without those two, and they are a group that already works well as a team. Not having to play in the AL East helps as well, which means they could easily earn a playoff spot and a possible World Series bid.
There were trade rumors abound all offseason that the A's would trade Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey and others. They did trade Trevor Cahill, but that's been it.
Are they going to trade those two players? A decision may have to be made sooner rather than later, but with the caveat that trading those two players pretty much guarantees a 100-loss season this year.
The Seattle Mariners have recently been synonymous with great pitching but terrible hitting the past couple seasons. As such, Prince Fielder has been tossed around as a name that could end up in Seattle, and they would of course love to have him.
However, it's tough to say both how much Fielder could end up making and how much the Mariners are willing to pay, since they are on a budget. How serious are the Mainers in picking him up, since there's no question they need a bat? After all, the next best power hitter might be Mike Carp.
The Texas Rangers seem set with their lineup after replacing C.J. Wilson with Neftali Feliz in the starting rotation. Replacing him as the closer, however, is Joe Nathan, coming off both Tommy John surgery and a bad 2011 season.
If Nathan can bounce back to form, then it's a huge win for Texas, but he could just as easily be done. With the Angels breathing down their neck, the Joe Nathan signing could determine the Rangers' playoff chances.
Before the winter meetings, the big question out of Atlanta was whether or not Martin Prado or Jair Jurrjens would be traded. After the winter meetings, those questions remain.
The Braves seem set otherwise, yet it still seems likely one or the other will be traded. Which one will end up leaving Atlanta, and could that move cause issues down the stretch next year?
We knew the Miami Marlins would come out spending this offseason, and they did just that, bringing in Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell and Jose Reyes. Needless to say, that puts them in a good spot in the NL East.
Having said that, do the Marlins have more planned? They tried to sign Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, and for all we know, they could try to sign Prince Fielder as well, which would put Gaby Sanchez on the trading block.
The New York Mets has a horrendous bullpen last year. No one will doubt that. As a result, they signed Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch and traded for Ramon Ramirez. They may have lost Jose Reyes, but their bullpen looks way better.
Having said that, ideally the starting pitching would be fixed too. Only R.A. Dickey has a good year, and while they are getting Johan Santana back, his durability is becoming a concern. Then again, perhaps that rotation is why they made sure to bulk up the bullpen.
This is the big question for Phillie fans this offseason, as they thought it would be easy to re-sign him. However, the Cardinals are now pushing to acquire him, and the price is likely to go up on him.
General manager Ruben Amaro knows what he's doing, though if they don't sign Rollins, there's quite a big drop-off in talent at shortstop in free agency, and the Phillies didn't have amazing hitting to begin with last year.
The Washington Nationals always spend money on the big name; there's no question about that. They need some pitching depth and are looking at Yu Darvish, Roy Oswalt and a couple others.
Which one will they end up getting? I don't see them treading too carefully despite Jayson Werth not working out, so cost won't be an issue. Besides, what matters is that Stephen Strasburg is healthy in 2012, so the acquisition can back him up.
The Cubs made a few good moves in recent weeks, signing David DeJesus and trading for Ian Stewart. While not big name players, they get the job done, which is more than the Cubs can say about the overpaid players.
Talk remains about Carlos Zambrano, Alfonso Soriano or another being traded, though it seems far less likely now. Could Theo Epstein pull the trigger on such a trade? It would move the Cubs past all the bad signings of the past few years.
Unlike some teams that jump into free agency and make moves left and right, the Cincinnati Reds tend to be patient. Such is the case this year, as they haven't made any moves, and have not been unable to sign Brandon Phillips to a long-term deal.
Signing Phillips, bringing in a starter and adding infield depth needs to be done. If the Reds are not going to pull the trigger, then other teams will, and they don't want to end up stuck with the leftovers.
The Houston Astros made no moves during the winter meetings, but that's because they're planning trades for their big time players in order to develop prospects and get back on track.
Brett Myers, Carlos Lee and especially Wandy Rodriguez can be valuable trade pieces, and if negotiated right, they could end up with a very deep farm system. Realistically, these trades could shape the future of the Astros organization, so they have to be done with care.
The Milwaukee Brewers actually had a very good winter meeting, re-signing Francisco Rodriguez and bringing in Alex Gonzalez, a big improvement over Yuniesky Betancourt.
However, what everyone is talking about now is Ryan Braun's 50-game suspension and how this will affect the middle of the order. Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart is not a bad combination at all, but it's not the same as Braun and Prince Fielder, who is likely gone as well.
The Pirates had a great week at winter meetings, and it's surprising that it got little coverage. They addressed the big hole in the rotation by signing Erik Bedard, added a good glove in the infield with Clint Barmes and added depth in the outfield with Nate McLouth, who was bad with Atlanta but good when originally with Pittsburgh.
These are not big time signings, but they are players who know their role and could be good enough to push the Pirates over the .500 mark. As long as everyone achieves what they are supposed to, it's certainly possible.
The St. Louis Cardinals lost the face of their franchise in Albert Pujols. While this could cripple other teams, the Cardinals just came off a World Series win and also get their ace, Adam Wainwright, back for next year.
In other words, as long as they replace Pujols with an outfielder (presuming Lance Berkman takes over first base) and bolster the infield a bit, they should be fine. In fact, is it possible they could sign a good bat? After all, Rafael Furcal and others have been the subject of free agency talks.
The Arizona Diamondbacks came out of nowhere to win the NL West last year, and they aren't jut sitting comfortably. They traded to being in Trevor Cahill, making an already tough rotation even tougher.
There's the possibility of adding a reliever in as well, but right now, the Diamondbacks seem to be in very good shape, and if the team plays anything like they did last year, they should have no trouble winning the division again.
The Colorado Rockies made a huge number of little moves in the past week. They shipped off Huston Street and his salary to San Diego, and brought in Tyler Chatwood, Ramon Hernandez and Kevin Slowey.
All these moves are no big deal individually, but the Rockies know that they can't have too much pitching with where they play, and they have plenty of players ready to go yet from the Ubaldo Jimenez trade.
With the re-signing of Matt Kemp and the lineup seeming in good shape, the Dodgers signed both Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang to provide veteran depth to the lineup.
Hiroki Kuroda was considered a safe bet to remain with the Dodgers, but now it seems that this is not the case. Could those moves have been made to be safe? If so, then it worked out, since it ended up being quite a bargain, though they may not have the money to bring Kuroda back anyway.
After losing Heath Bell to free agency, the Padres quickly filled that void by trading for Huston Street. Now, the only issue they have is in their starting lineup, where they still do not have any cleanup hitter.
There are plenty of bats out there, but the question is whether or not the Padres will consider pursuing them. Some can be had for a bargain, but it seems like the Padres are fine with their small-ball team.
The Giants know what their weaknesses were and got them fixed in the offseason quickly. They traded Andres Torres for Angel Pagan and traded Jonathan Sanchez for Melky Cabrera, fixing a terrible outfield situation that will become strong if they re-sign Carlos Beltran.
The lineup should be a lot better in 2012, and there's always the possibility that another trade could be made to make the lineup even tougher. There's no question the Giants want to get back to the World Series.