The biggest trades and free agent signings of the offseason have already taken place, but if last year is any indication, we're in for a busy February filled with minor league deals and extensions. Here's what happened a year ago:
The Twins signed Jim Thome and Orlando Hudson; the Rockies signed Melvin Mora; the Orioles signed Mark Hendrickson and Will Ohman; the Padres signed Yorvit Torrealba; the Mariners re-signed Mike Sweeney and Erik Bedard; the Rays signed Joaquin Benoit; the Nationals signed Chien-Ming Wang, Adam Kennedy and Willy Taveras; the Blue Jays signed Jose Molina and Kevin Gregg; the Dodgers signed Eric Gagne, Reed Johnson and Brian Giles; the Tigers signed Johnny Damon; the Reds re-signed Jonny Gomes and signed Orlando Cabrera; the Mets signed Rod Barajas; the Indians signed Russell Branyan; the Cardinals signed Felipe Lopez and the Yankees signed Chan Ho Park and Dustin Moseley after signing Randy Winn and Marcus Thames.
Front Office Changes
Corey Hart won his hearing with the Brewers; the Rays won their hearing with B.J. Upton; Cody Ross won his hearing with the Marlins; the Nationals won their hearings with Sean Burnett and Brian Bruney; the Cubs won their hearing with Ryan Theriot and Jeff Mathis won his hearing with the Angels.
It's pretty clear that more top free agents remained on the market at this time last year, but some difference makers (Andy Pettitte and Vladimir Guerrero) are currently free agents. And even though there aren't many big-name free agents out there, players could sign this month and emerge as bargains over the course of the season, just as Joaquin Benoit did a year ago.
There are 15 unresolved arbitration cases, all of which will come to some sort of resolution this month. Some of the unsigned arbitration eligible players could agree to multiyear deals, as Lincecum and Verlander did last year. But it's Albert Pujols' possible extension that will dominate headlines in 2011 – at least until his Spring Training deadline for a deal.
We could also see front office changes – Rangers GM Jon Daniels is an extension candidate – and a few waiver claims this month. Just don't expect many trades. If last year is any indication, February is not much of a month for deal-making.