Major League Baseball’s recent off-season was one for the record books. It was one full of surprises, heartbreak and controversy, and one that will be remembered for years. Homegrown players, like Albert Pujols, have found new homes. Teams that have traditionally been bottom feeders, such as the Washington Nationals, made trades that made them an instant contender in their division. Many teams made no real moves while opposing teams within their division made plenty. All the whirlwinds that came about throughout the off-season were definitely unforgettable.
The two biggest free agent names took the baseball world by storm both spontaneously signed with teams whose names were not involved in the reports that came out before the signing. Those two are two of the most powerful, consistent players in this era, and they are first basemen Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols.
Prince Fielder took longer than Albert Pujols to sign with a team but when he did, it made perfect sense. He was signed by the Detroit Tigers to a 9-year, $214 million contract. The Tigers, at the time, had just received news that they would be without Victor Martinez, who was all-star Miguel Cabrera’s cushion in the lineup and I believe that is what sparked the abrupt signing. Another reason as to why he may have signed with the Tigers is that his father, Cecil Fielder was a Tiger for seven of the 13 years he spent in the bigs. With Miggy and Prince in the lineup, the Tigers have one of the most consistent lineups in the league. Fielder had been a Milwaukee Brewer since 2005.
Albert Pujols also took the baseball world’s breath away when he abruptly signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to a 10-year deal, worth $240 million; like Fielder and the Tigers, the Angels were a team whose name was not mentioned in any of the talks before the signing. It was almost definite that Pujols was going to sign with the Miami Marlins, which would have made total sense, but because of contract disputes, a deal did not happen. The Cardinals were said to have had the best offer out there for Pujols, to keep him in St. Louis, but Pujols’ heart felt differently as he signed to become an Angel.
Since the 2012 MLB season is just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to make a few predictions about events and outcomes that I think will happen in 2012. It seems necessary since we saw so much in the off-season.
- The Tampa Bay Rays will win the American League East division by at least three games. Baltimore will finish in third.
- Tampa Bay Pitcher Matt Moore will win the AL Rookie of the Year and have 15+ wins.
- Yu Darvish will finish with a record at or below .500.
- Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder will have a combined 65+ HRs and 210+ RBIs.
- Albert Pujols will bat under .300 and have fewer than 30 HRs.
- The New York Mets will trade David Wright by the trade deadline.
- Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg will have a combined 25 wins with an ERA under 3.30.
- Bryce Harper will make the Washington Nationals’ Opening Day roster.
- Adam Wainwright will reach 15 wins.
- Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran will each have an injury that forces him to miss at least 30 games.
I know that some of these predictions may seem far out, but Spring Training is just around the corner and we won’t know for sure until late September.