2012 MLB Baseball's Most Underrated Off-season Moves

By Paul Grossinger

Baltimore Orioles sign Wei-Yin Chen

The Orioles were not expected to be very good this year. But, good luck and some shrewd moves have things looking up this season. On the shrewd side, new GM Dan Duquette signed Wei-Yin Chen, a 26 year old top pitcher from South Korea, to a four-year deal. Chen does not have a heater pitch but he has great control pitches and flawless mechanics. Right now, he looks like a potential ace with a 4-0 record, 2.45 ERA, and very strong peripherals.

Washington Nationals sign Edwin Jackson

The headliner move of the National's offseason was trading for new starter Gio Gonzalez. He has been great but that was a high profile acquisition; Washington's underrated steal was Edwin Jackson. He signed for a modest one year deal and is having his best year ever: throwing heater fastballs, mixing his pitches better, and putting up a 3.31 ERA and strong peripherals. The Nationals have had a run of injuries recently so they can trade him if they fall out of contention. They can also keep and resign him or just take the two top draft picks they will get after offering him off-season arbitration.

Chicago Cubs promote Bryan LaHair

LaHair was the Cubs' Triple A Player of the Year, hitting 39 home runs! Chicago decided to add him to the major league club and let Anthony Rizzo earn more Triple A seasoning, which has paid off big time. LaHair is the Cubs' top performer in the early going and he looks like a late-blooming complete hitter in the Jose Bautista mold. Chicago could trade him in the summer to a contender for several impact talent prospects or install him in left or right field when Rizzo is promoted to the major league club. Considering his age and outlier performance, trading high looks like a shrewd option.

St. Louis Cardinals sign Carlos Beltran

The Cardinals constantly remind everyone that they are baseball's most savvy organization. Recognizing that Albert Pujols' best playing days were behind him, they refused to financially cripple their franchise to resign him and added raking outfielder Carlos Beltran instead. Fully healthy, Beltran has batted .299 with 13 home runs, 32 RBI, and a .407 on-base percentage, which is frighteningly close to Pujols' own production last year. Once again, St. Louis is on track to rule the National League.

St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran
St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran (3) hits a pop fly single in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Photo Courtesy By: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE.

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