The free agency sweepstakes heading into the 2012 MLB season has not been as exciting as it was in recent years. With the exception of the Los Angeles Angels and Miami Marlins making big moves, there has been little excitement outside of the two big names switching teams this off-season. With the big names off the board, here is a look at the top five free agent acquisitions heading into the 2012 MLB season.
1. Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels
Before the 2011 MLB season, Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals worked on a new contract. It never culminated and Pujols ended up helping them win a World Series and then left as a free agent. The Los Angeles Angels, desperate for something to help level the playing field with the Texas Rangers, reached out and signed Pujols to a 10-year, $254 million deal. Pujols, the best player in baseball for the last decade, should finish off his career in Los Angeles and give them the weapon they hope will allow them to retake the AL West.
2. Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers
Prince Fielder was supposed to sign with a team after Pujols went off the market but it took almost two months for him to come to a decision. The resulting destination, the Detroit Tigers, seemed to catch a lot of people off guard but it shouldn't have. When Fielder was a kid, he used to play on the Detroit Tigers field as his father was the biggest star the city ever saw. Now, the son replaces the father and will hope to build on the reputation his father cemented in the Motor City. And it only cost the franchise $214 million over nine years.
3. Jose Reyes, Miami Marlins
The Miami Marlins had an interesting off-season. First they changed the team name to Miami and released their new uniforms and colors. Finally, to revamp their image, they went out and started signing free agents. The biggest name they acquired was Jose Reyes, who picked up $106 million over six years. Reyes is the new shortstop for Miami while Hanley Ramirez moves to third and now the Marlins hope to win again. I remember the last time they went free agent hungry, won a World Series and then dumped everyone to save money.
4. C.J. Wilson, Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels not only signed Pujols to try to beat the Rangers in the AL West but they also struck at Texas personally by signing Texas ace, C.J. Wilson, to a five-year, $75 million deal. Wilson used to be a closer for Texas and worked his way up the system until he finally sat as the team ace in the 2011 World Series run. Wilson's ERA in 2011 was sub-3.00 and he looks to help Los Angeles finally knock off the dangerous Rangers.
5. Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
Texas answered the Angels' signing of Wilson by grabbing Japanese import Yu Darvish. While the Rangers ended up spending more money to sign Darvish then they would have spent re-signing Wilson, they only have to see $60 million of it affect their salary cap. Darvish has never posted above a 2.00 ERA in Japan and is a strikeout master, striking out 276 batters in 232 innings last season.