Where some of the top players in baseball landed for the 2012 season
The advent of free agency in Major League Baseball in December of 1975 changed the landscape of the game dramatically. From Reggie Jackson to Nolan Ryan to Barry Bonds, free agency has increased competition as well as player salaries. Today, the signing of a free agent can make or break a team’s season. The 2011-12 free agent signing period offered some of the biggest moves in MLB history. Here are a few of the top signings this year:
1B Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Since 2000, there hasn’t been a better player in baseball than Albert Pujols. Year after year, the first baseman turned in at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. Pujols spent his first 11 years with the St. Louis Cardinals where he won Rookie of the Year, three MVP’s and two World Series rings, including one last year. Pujols has also played in nine All-Star Games, won two Gold Gloves and two batting titles. The 31-year old has done about everything a player can do and is a future first-ballot hall-of-famer. There were rumors that he would sign with the Cubs and then the Marlins, but Pujols caught everyone by surprise when he signed with the Angels for 10 years and $254 million dollars. The addition of Pujols immediately makes the Angels a major contender to win the World Series. Whether he helps L.A. to a title or not, Pujols has built a legacy that cannot be matched by any other player in this generation.
LHP Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Soon after Pujols was signed, the Angels moved forward by adding one of the top southpaw pitchers in the league in C.J. Wilson. The 31-year-old lefty was signed to a five-year $77.5 million dollar contract. The Texas Rangers had one of the best rotations in baseball last year, and Wilson was a big part of the success that led to an American League championship. Wilson’s first five years with the Rangers were in relative anonymity, but over the last two seasons, he has won a total of 31 games. The seven-year veteran appeared in his first All-Star Game last season while posting a 2.94 ERA. The only red flag coming into his tenure in Anaheim is a poor postseason record. In six playoff series, Wilson has just one victory with a 4.82 ERA. However, the experience gained in Texas should only help him going forward in Anaheim. The combination of Wilson and the Angels’ top right-hander Jered Weaver could be L.A.’s ticket to a championship.
For complete list, check out the newest issue on newsstands or Go digital and get the latest issue for your smart devices.