You know it has been a busy year when the trades for Dan Uggla and Roy Oswalt aren't among the year's top stories. Uggla and Oswalt are in good company, though. Colby Rasmus, Justin Upton, Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez were all regulars on MLBTR, but none of them made our cut either. So who did? We present you with the 15 storylines that dominated MLB Trade Rumors in 2010:
- The Cliff Lee sweepstakes, Part 1 and 2 – Has any player monopolized trade rumors more than Cliff Lee in the past two years? He was traded twice in 2009, but didn't slow down in 2010. Once the Mariners fell out of contention it became apparent that Lee was headed elsewhere. The Yankees appeared to have acquired the left-hander, but the deal fell through and the Rangers swooped in to acquire him. In case that wasn't enough drama for the year, Lee turned down more guaranteed money from the Rangers and Yankees to return to Philadelphia. He signed a $120MM deal with the Phils that gives the team a phenomenal rotation and should provide Lee with some well-deserved stability.
- The Adrian Gonzalez trade – The Red Sox have long coveted Gonzalez, but Theo Epstein couldn't acquire him from the Padres until after the season, since San Diego was in contention until the season's final day. Boston obtained Gonzalez for Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, Reymond Fuentes and Eric Patterson just before the Winter Meetings.
- The Zack Greinke trade – The Brewers acquired Greinke from the Royals, but that's far from the whole story. Despite a good-but-not-great season from the right-hander, many teams, including the Braves, Yankees, Blue Jays and Rangers, expressed interest. Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Yovani Gallardo have the potential to give the Brewers their best rotation in years.
- The Carl Crawford signing – Crawford was a potential trade candidate entering the season, but like the Padres, the Rays held onto their superstar and went for it in 2010. Both teams will be watching their former players suit up for the Red Sox in 2011, since Boston signed Crawford for $142MM. The Angels, considered by many the favorites to land Crawford, may be as disappointed as the Rays.
- Longtime Yankees hit free agency – No one really thought Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera would sign elsewhere, but the Red Sox were intrigued enough to make Rivera an offer and negotiations with Jeter became a little messier and more public than expected. Both players will be back in pinstripes for a minimum of two years, leaving Yankees fans to wonder about Andy Pettitte.
- Jayson Werth's massive contract - Werth entered 2010 having qualified for one batting title in his career and emerged from the year with a $126MM contract. In between, he collected 75 extra base hits, switched agents, helped the Phillies to the NLCS and was even a midsummer trade candidate.
- The Joe Mauer extension - Not only did Mauer sign the fourth biggest contract in baseball history ($184MM), he deprived the Yankees and Red Sox of the chance to bid on him as a free agent. The Twins' decision to lock up the perennial MVP candidate coincided with a move to Target Field and increased spending.
- Under-the-radar moves lead Giants to first World title in San Francisco – Brian Sabean has endured his share of criticism for signing Aaron Rowand and Barry Zito, but his moves worked tremendously in 2010. He signed Aubrey Huff, gambled on Pat Burrell and claimed Cody Ross to great effect. The team's homegrown core – Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Buster Posey – deserves credit, too.
- The Mets' front office changes – Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel won't be leading the Mets again in 2011. The team brought in veteran GM Sandy Alderson, who hired manager Terry Collins and former GMs J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta. The Mets have had a relatively quiet offseason, but they intend to spend more on the draft and they have money coming off the books a year from now.
- The Diamondbacks' front office changes and firesale – Josh Byrnes, Jerry Dipoto and Kevin Towers have all had turns running the D'Backs this year. Before Towers shopped Justin Upton, Byrnes and Dipoto shipped Conor Jackson, Edwin Jackson, Chris Snyder, Bobby Crosby, Dan Haren and Chad Qualls out of Arizona. The D'Backs also promoted Kirk Gibson and fired A.J. Hinch, who now works with Byrnes in the Padres front office.
- The fate of the 2012 first base class – Ryan Howard signed a $125MM extension, Prince Fielder stayed put despite near-constant rumors and Albert Pujols is less than a year away from free agency.
- Top Nationals picks generate buzz – Stephen Strasburg's electrifying debut and eventual elbow injury captivated baseball fans this summer. Bryce Harper, the first overall pick in 2010, promises to bring his powerful bat to Nationals Park within a few years.
- Dodger Drama – The McCourts' divorce provided lots of off-field Hollywood drama. There will be no more Mannywood in L.A., though. The White Sox made a much-anticipated waiver claim this August, ending Manny Ramirez's two-year tenure with the Dodgers.
- The Adam Dunn saga – The Nationals discussed possible extensions with Dunn before and after he appeared in trade rumors at the 2010 deadline. He stayed put this summer, but left for Chicago after the season, signing a four-year, $56MM deal with the White Sox.
- Reds sign Aroldis Chapman - The Reds won the Chapman sweepstakes with a surprise $30.25MM bid. Late in the lefty's first professional season, the Reds called him up and saw him dominate big leaguers for 15 relief appearances, throwing the fastest recorded pitch in baseball history along the way.
Honorable mentions: Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, Dan Uggla, Jason Bay, Matt Holliday, Carl Pavano, Heath Bell, David Ortiz, Joey Votto, Jose Bautista, Paul Konerko, Corey Hart, Ted Lilly, James Shields, Matt Garza, Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman, Colby Rasmus, Justin Upton, Troy Tulowitzki, Johnny Damon and multiyear deals for relievers.
Thanks to Tim Dierkes, Zach Links, Steve Adams, Howard Megdal, Mark Polishuk, Luke Adams, Mike Axisa and Jason Martinez for help creating this list.