Every year there is a big deal. Last year the Rangers got Cliff Lee. A couple of years ago the Brewers landed CC Sabathia. A deal like this can propel a team into the playoffs and in some cases the World Series.
But every year there are the somewhat smaller deals that can equally help a team. For example, last year the Yankees picked up Kerry Wood. Kerry Wood had a 0.69 in 26 innings, which is only 2 earned runs given up total. This didn’t help the Yankees win a title, but it solidified their bullpen and their bridge to Mariano Rivera. In a crucial situation getting to Mariano Rivera with a lead still intact could make a difference between a championship and not a championship.
The point here is that a smaller tier could make a big difference, and often those are the first deals to take place. Here are a couple of smaller deals that have already happened that could make the difference for some contenders. These deals also serve as a bit of a table setter, if you will, or a suspense builder for the big-time deal.
• Jeff Keppinger- The Giants got the multi-positional infielder in Keppinger who can help them at second and shortstop where the Giants haven’t exactly gotten defending-champion-like production.
• Wilson Betemit- The Tigers got him supposedly as an upgrade over Brandon Inge. This season Betemit has been better offensively and good defensively, but there aren’t a lot of players at the hot corner who can bring it defensively like Inge.