Rays landing Myers
Juan C. Rodriguez
The Dodgers signing Zack Greinke or one of the Blue Jays' trades will have plenty of short-term impact. In terms a move having the longest-lasting positive effect on a franchise, let's go with the Rays acquiring a future cornerstone player in outfielder Wil Myers from the Royals.
The Rays dealt from a position of strength, moving pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis, and they also got back two promising arms in Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery to add to a young, talented stable.
Talents like Myers, 21, rarely are dealt at this stage of their careers. He is Baseball America's minor league player of the year. He's big league-ready and poised to help keep the Rays competitive in a loaded American League East.
Nats stronger with Span
Dave van Dyck
While the Blue Jays made the biggest splash (the mega-trade with the Marlins) and the Dodgers and Angels signed the best free-agent pitcher (Zack Greinke) and hitter (Josh Hamilton), the Nationals very quietly picked up Denard Span.
And while the deal went under the radar, baseball's best team guaranteed it would remain that by getting a true center fielder and leadoff hitter in Span. His career on-base percentage (.357) is 35 points higher than the Nationals got from leadoff last season. Plus, the Nationals' defense becomes much better with Span in center and Bryce Harper moving to left. In other words, the Nationals did exactly what they had to do by strengthening their weakest spot(s).
It's the move that had massive impact on both ends: The Great Miami Marlins Salary Dump of 2012.
For the Marlins, the trade that sent Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes to the Blue Jays starkly exposed owner Jeffrey Loria as a fraud to the community that paid for the ballpark the Marlins said they needed to stem their financial losses — a lie, according to documents released after the deal was complete.
The Blue Jays took advantage of the Marlins' chicanery, swallowing lots of salary — but avoiding the free-agent market — for the chance to add a No. 1 and No. 2 pitcher and a onetime batting champion whose game could thrive on artificial turf. Toronto is the fourth-largest market in MLB, and it is good to see the Blue Jays acting like it.
Going for it in Toronto
The Blue Jays needed a series of moves to transition from an AL also-ran into a World Series betting favorite. But the trade with the Marlins that brought Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle north of the border was the rally starter.
If the Jays hadn't made that trade, the additions of R.A. Dickey, Melky Cabrera and Macier Izturis wouldn't have had as much meaning. The Blue Jays haven't won 90 games since Joe Carter went hopping around the bases in 1993, so the fan base should be excited. It also adds another powerhouse to the deepest division in baseball.
Championships aren't won in November, but the title for the biggest impact this offseason goes to the Jays.