Every year we see teams gamble. Whether it's signing a big-name free agent for multiple years, exchanging prospects for elite players, or rolling the dice on someone who might have another good year or two left in the tank, every team takes risks. Let's look at some of the most successful risks (from a strictly 2010 standpoint) we've seen in the past year by seeing which freshly-signed or traded players will be headed to Los Angeles as members of the 2010 All-Star rosters.
Vladimir Guerrero — Signed a one-year, $6.5MM deal with a mutual option for 2011. Guerrero is hitting a ridiculous .331/.376/.570 with 18 HR and 70 RBI. Both of those numbers eclipse his totals from an injury-shortened 2009.
Adrian Beltre — Signed a one-year deal worth $9MM with a $5MM player option. Clearly hoping to build up his value, Beltre's followed through to the tune of a .341/.377/.545 line with 12 long balls and 53 driven in. I'm going out on a limb and guessing that player option's not getting exercised.
Victor Martinez — Acquired at last year's trading deadline, V-Mart has recovered from a slow start to produce a strong overall line of .289/.344/.480, though he's currently on the disabled list. He'll be one of the more sought-after free agents on this year's market.
Cliff Lee — Acquired by Seattle in a multi-team deal. Including today's start, Lee's compiled a 2.34 ERA through 103.2 innings. He's struck out 89 hitters and, remarkably, has the same number of complete games (five) as walks issued. He may not be long for the Emerald City, but he's been a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season.
Jose Valverde — Signed a two-year, $14MM deal with Detroit. Arguably the American League's best closer so far, Papa Grande has just two earned runs through 35 innings while recording 33 K's. He's got 18 saves in 19 chances, and opponents are somehow hitting just .099 against him.
John Buck — Signed with Toronto after being non-tendered by Kansas City. Doubtful that many pegged Buck as an All-Star, but he's got a line of .271/.306/.509 and his 13 HRs are second among Major League catchers.
Scott Rolen — Acquired at last year's deadline, Rolen signed a two-year extension worth $13MM. Rolen's reminded us that his bat was once as highly regarded as his glove with a .302/.368/.577 line to go along with 17 HR. His .577 slugging percentage leads the NL.
Matt Holliday — Signed a seven-year, $120MM deal with the Cardinals. He may not be decimating the National League like he did in his return in 2009, but Holliday's got a solid line of .301/.375/.498 and went on a tear in the month of June (.971 OPS)
Marlon Byrd — Signed a three-year, $15MM deal with the Cubs. Byrd's impressed in his first year in the Windy City. His .310/.357/.485 line makes for an .842 OPS, fifth-best among Major League center fielders. His 26 doubles lead the National League.
Matt Capps — Signed with Washington after being non-tendered by Pittsburgh. Capps has a breath of fresh air for Jim Riggleman's bullpen, registering 22 saves and 32 K's in 36.2 innings. He's struggled a bit following a dominant start to the season, but his ERA remains at 3.19.