Will offseason spending sprees pay off?

Every offseason, players change teams, either via trade or free agency. Rosters change every year and the fans are forced to catch up, lest they show up at a game with a jersey from a player that last played for the hometown team years ago.

But the offseason following the 2005 season has been especially frantic, with some big money getting thrown around. The Dodgers signed four free agents - Nomar Gariciaparra, Rafael Furcal, Bill Mueller and Kenny Lofton - to over $62 million over the life of the contracts. The always spending money Yankees committed $71 million to three free agents, including Johnny Damon. The New York Mets gave Billy Wagner $43 million over four years, and the Toronto Blue Jays dished out nearly $100 million to B.J. Ryan and A.J. Burnett (pictured).

What They're Saying
Tom Glavine: "We're as talented as anybody, no question about that. We have high expectations, and rightly so."

Feb. 24, 2006

Mets think latest makeover makes them a playoff team

Jayson Stark: "Signed: A big-time starter (A.J. Burnett), a punchout closer (B.J. Ryan) and an all-star catcher (Bengie Molina).

"Traded for: A proven masher (Troy Glaus) and a polished left-handed bat (Lyle Overbay).

"That, friends, is offseason transacting at its finest, even if it wasn't exactly at bargain rates."

Feb. 20, 2006
Blue Jays suddenly 'in this now to win'

Jerry Crasnick: "In the lobby at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel, the Blue Jays' massive investment in (A.J.) Burnett and (B.J.) Ryan generated considerable skepticism. (Toronto GM J.P.) Ricciardi's fellow executives sympathize with his quandary in having to overpay to lure marquee free agents to Toronto. Some admire him for trying. But the consensus is that he's taking an enormous risk in giving so many years to two pitchers."

Dec. 6, 2005

Pressure is on Blue Jays to contend

Tom Glavine: "In the short term, will the Blue Jays' largesse make a real difference in the standings? Last season they won 80 games, which left them 15 games behind the Yankees and Red Sox. As good as A.J. and B.J. might be, together they're not going to make the Blue Jays 15 games better."

Dec. 5, 2005

Burnett, Ryan still not enough for Jays