MLB spending spree

Alec Bandler and Eric Yee

The Major League Baseball offseason has begun and players are cashing in big time in free agency.

The 2012 World Series champions San Francisco Giants retained all of their key players from last season.  But to do this, they had to open their pocketbooks.

The Giants resigned outfielder Angel Pagan to a four- year, $40 million contract and NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro to a three-year, $20 million contract.  While these players were very important to keep, the Giants are paying too much for them.

Pagan had one of his best career years only a year after putting up disappointing numbers with the Mets in 2011.

At age 37, Scutaro’s best years are behind him and he will never be as solid as he was in the playoffs.

The Giants also reached out to former centerfielder Andres Torres and signed him for one year in hopes he can help in  left field.

Another big decision for the Giants was non-tendering former closer Brian Wilson.  Wilson was a local icon after the Giants’ 2010 championship, but an injury forced him to have Tommy John surgery and he missed virtually all of 2012.

Wilson won’t ever be back to his 2010 form, but he still has a chance to be a decent reliever.

The Oakland A’s are expected to have a quiet offseason.  They have made  a few minor moves, such as resigning Bartolo Colon and trading for Arizona outfielder Chris Young. But for the most part they have their team set for 2013.  The one major hole on the team is shortstop.

Former A’s shortstop Stephen Drew signed with the Red Sox, giving them flexibility with their young prospects.

For the second consecutive year, the Angels were able to get the best player on the market. Outfielder Josh Hamilton signed a five-year, $125 million deal, making the Angels a favorite in the American League West.

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Dodgers now own baseball’s largest payroll after unleashing hundreds of millions for overrated pitching in Zack Greinke and Korean star Hyun-Jin Ryu.

For once the financially tight Yankees were limited to signing Ichiro to a two-year deal and  Kevin Youkilis for  a one-year, $12 million deal.

The Red Sox have made three  important signings by securing Drew, catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Shane Victorino.

The big surprise was the Braves signing outfielder B.J Upton to a five-year, $75 million deal.  This is way too much money for a player  with a sub-.300 OBP.  The Braves will regret this deal in a few years.

Overall, free agency in baseball has been one of the most anticipated times of the year. This year’s signings have set the table for an exciting baseball season.