This has been one of the more exciting off seasons that MLB has seen in quite some time. After the San Francisco Giants shocked the world with their World Series win over the Texas Rangers, free agency became the center of the baseball world. Some of the biggest names were Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, and Jayson Werth. Lee left the Rangers to return with the Philadelphia Phillies. Crawford left the Tampa Bay Rays to join a suddenly scary Boston Red Sox club. Werth left the Phillies for the Washington Nationals in a move that I believe was strictly for monetary purposes.

These players weren’t the only ones that made noise with their off season antics. Manny Ramirez left the Dodgers to join Johnny Damon in Tampa Bay. Derek Jeter had his whole ordeal with the Yankees where apparently ol’ Hank Steinbrenner believes he is building too many mansions. Everybody and their mothers knew Jeter would remain a Yankee, but the contract negotiations were fun to watch for the spectator anyways. As was the Albert Pujols contract drama. Pujols is the best player in the MLB in my opinion, but he is off his rocker if he thinks he can get a long term deal getting $30 million per year at his age.

When you have mansions like Jeter, there are plenty of reasons to smile.

These free agent signings and other drama have made this year’s spring training very fun to watch. Some questions that are being asked about these new free agents is their age. Lee, Ramirez, Damon, and Werth are all over the age of 30, and Crawford is already 29. Are these teams paying these players too much, given that they may not have much more in them? I think that is the case for some of them. In my opinion, Lee was a post season wonder and will not nearly be as effective as Philly fans are expecting. Ramirez and Damon are both in the major decline of their careers. Don’t even get me stated on Werth, the Nationals are crazy if they think they can build a team around him. Carl Crawford is the only real high priced free agent that I believe will be effective for many years to come.

All of the new faces on these teams are looking for fresh starts, just all of the clubs in the MLB are seeking a fresh start. That is what makes baseball so great, every team has a new year to do great things. Us fans can just sit back and enjoy until October. The off season stories have been entertaining so far, but the season will be that much better. Oh no, I forgot about the best off season story. Apparently Cameron Diaz fed Alex Rodriguez some popcorn at the Super Bowl.

This wouldn’t be a real spring training thread with out a few predictions. I predict that the Red Sox will beat the Phillies in the World Series 4-2. I predict that the Cubs will be out of the NL Central division race by June. I predict that Manny Ramirez will be in a mental institution by May. Have a great season folks!

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