Well the MLB offseason saw it's first rash of big moves come this week with the trading of Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. While fans try to figure out who got the best of these deals, I'll rationalize some of the moves made since the end of the World Series.
Seattle: (Adding Cliff Lee through a trade and signing Chone Figgins leaves me to believe Seattle has improved the most so far in this offeseason. Figgins will take over 3rd base as Adrian Beltre searches for his next contract somewhere else. This is a great move as it will allow the Mariners to bat Ichiro then Figgins at the top of the order. That's a dangerous, high average, speed driven top of the lineup and could spell trouble for opposing teams if these two keep hitting the way they've hit throughout their careers. Cliff Lee will join Felix Hernandez at the top of the rotation, giving Seattle (in a pitcher's park nonetheless) a chance to really take this division over. They lose Beltre and Bedard to free agency but replace them with 2 better players.)
Boston: (To no one's suprise, the Red Sox threw some money around at a guy who could be the ace of many staffs in the league. Instead, he'll fit right in behind Beckett and Lester. Think about how much money the Red Sox have spent on pitching in the past 5 years? Think about giving Dice-K his big deal and 50 mil negotiating fee as well. This remains the team with the best chance of dethroning the Yankees even if they didn't show up in the playoffs. They also added Marco Scutaro and Jeremy Hermida with a chance they could add Mike Cameron too.)
NY Yankees: (They did what they do best. Mortage part of their future crop of talent for Major League talent. Trading Coke and Kennedy to get Granderson was a good move but Curtis is going to have some big shoes to live up to. He's going to need to hit better than he did last year in the new bandbox park. His HR's should improve and he'll probably hit 1st or 2nd in the lineup I'd imagine. They also got Andy Pettitte back for another year. The Yanks are not done and will make more big moves.)
Baltimore: (Had to comment on them because this is my team and the one I follow on a day to day basis. Added Armando Garbino from Minnesota off waivers to a bullpen that needs some young arms. Garbino made some starts down the stretch for the Twins but he'll be lucky to make this team in my opinion. He has no chance of starting. Swapped Chris Ray for Kevin Millwood. Texas went out and gave some money to Rich Harden to replace Millwood, though. The O's will only pay Millwood $9 million for one year. I hate giving up on a guy like Ray who has closing experience and has done it well. One of the O's needs is Closer so this is interesting to trade away a guy who could've closed games for you in 2010. Millwood is a veteran coming off his best year in awhile. Grant it, he was in Texas for the past few years but his numbers don't impress much. 200+ innings, a 4 ERA and an improved K/9 rate would be nice & is expected from him this season. The O's have also dabbled in talks with Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban defector with a lightning arm. His arm is one of a kind and he needs to be signed immediately! The Red Sox and Yankees are hot on his trail as well so this move needs to be made to not only improve our team but hurt Boston & New York.)
Philadelphia: (Added Roy Halladay while giving up Cliff Lee makes no sense to some. But I believe Halladay is ready to bust out on the scene this season while finally playing for a contender. He's been a sort of hidden gem for Toronto but now he'll get his due as the best pitcher in baseball. Gave up some great prospects but they believe Hamels & Halladay at the top of their rotation can carry them to yet another World Series. Replace Pedro Feliz with Placido Polanco. If Polanco can return to being a real threat at the plate, the NL's best lineup just got that much better.)
Other interesting moves:
-Bobby Abreu returns to the Angels (good move for the both sides)
-Pedro Feliz goes to Houston (doesn't matter, Houston won't contend)
-White Sox have traded for Juan Pierre & Mark Teahen (two good role players). They also signed JJ Putz.
-Brewers trade JJ Hardy to Minnesota for Carlos Gomez (two very frustrating fantasy players, Gomez will take over for Cameron and is better suited to play in the National League....Hardy is overrated but could find some success for the Twins). Brewers also threw a lot of money to Randy Wolf for some reason. This could be a move we look back on in the next year or two as a big mistake.
-D-Backs got Edwin Jackson in the Granderson deal (Could thrive in the NL but will pitch half of his games in a hitter's park. He will be in a division with many pitcher's parks. Look for Jackson to have a big year with Webb & Haren at the top of that rotation.)
-Brad Penny signs with St. Louis (He'll be fine in St. Louis but I really don't have much faith in him staying healthy anymore.)
-Tigers got a haul back for Granderson. Daniel Schlereth & Max Scherzer both have great young, power arms to add to the Tigers staff/bullpen.
-Billy Wagner signs with Atlanta to become their closer. Wagner knows the division and made the right move signing with an NL team. This ends the Gonzalez/Soriano closer carousel.
-The A's got Jake Fox (a great hitter from the Cubs) while getting rid of their biggest piece from the Matt Holliday deal (Brett Wallace). They also added Michael Taylor, a minor league OF from Philly who put up big numbers. I really like what Billy Beane's doing in Oakland. He's added a lot of talent through trades in the past 2 years while the A's have struggled. They will be back this year I have to believe but the Mariners & Rangers have also gotten better. The Angels lose Figgins & Lackey, leaving me to believe this will be a wide open race next year.