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MLB Stars Past Their Prime: 10 Players Who Will Retire After 2011

Major League Baseball has had its share of legends who played deep into their careers. Some of the most recent to finally hang up their spikes and walk away from the game include Ken Griffey Jr., Trevor Hoffman, and, barring an unexpected comeback, Andy Pettitte.

Each of the aforementioned players stuck around for a long time and were able to leave a lasting impression on the game we all love.

Over the last couple of seasons, team executives have turned their focus to building winning programs with young, athletic, and less-expensive players while the elder generation nears a mass exedos via retirement.

Many of our favorite players will soon be leaving the field and this wave of retirees could certainly see the 2011 campaign as one last “hoorah.” Let’s take a quick look at ten impact players who will retire following the upcoming season.

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Cubs and Brewers: Did They Get What They Paid For In Garza and Greinke Deals?

National League Central rivals, specifically the I-90 enemies, have recently made additions to improve the top of their rotations.

The Crew made a six-player deal that brought former AL Cy Young Zack Greinke into a rotation that already had right-handers Shaun Marcum and Yovani Gallardo, in addition to left-hander Randy Wolf. Each of these members have enjoyed recent success at the major league level and will be able to work deep enough into games to help keep the bullpen rested.

The Cubbies brought in Matt Garza in an eight-player deal that sent four of the Cubs’ top prospects to Tampa Bay. Garza joins Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and others in another rotation that needs to lead their team.

The two trades involved plenty of guys changing uniforms and therefore will be scrutinized for years to come as each player progresses with their new team. The fact that the Brewers and Cubs made deals for ace pitchers, within weeks of each other adds more intrigue to the transaction. Each team had to unload a good portion of their farm system, and that begs the question of whether or not each team got what they paid for.   

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Adrian Beltre Signed by Texas Rangers: What This Means for 5 Others Around MLB

He’s done it again.

Adrian Beltre, for the second time in six years, has completely rebuilt his value during a contract year and has earned himself another huge contract.

The Texas Rangers will potentially pay Beltre $96 million over a six-year contract to carry on his mastery of the third base position and to, hopefully, continue hitting the ball like he did for Boston this past season.

Now, I’m not here to debate over whether or not Beltre got too much money. I’m not going to talk about whether or not the Angels and A’s should’ve stepped up their offers for the All-Star third baseman.

I’m not even going to talk about the trio of Beltres (Engel Beltre, Omar Beltre and now Adrian Beltre) that are currently part of the Texas 40-man roster, though it is quite the fun fact.

What I am interested in is what this signing means for a handful of other guys around the league. Let’s go ahead and begin with what the move means for Beltre’s new teammate, Michael Young.

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Holy Cow: Five Moves To Make The 2011 Cubs Season Worthwhile

Why the not-so-optimistic title? Because a fifth place finish in the NL Central isn’t quite worthwhile when you’re the Chicago Cubs. In 2010, the team sported the highest payroll in the senior circuit at $137.9MM and were 12 games under .500 by the trade deadline.

Under manager Lou Piniella, the Cubs played with little enthusiasm and became complacent with their reputation as a team with a curse.

It will be up to new manager Mike Quade to shake the curse and keep his team motivated during his first full season at the helm, one which needs more ups than downs.

So, as the calendar prepares to turn, let’s offer some helpful tips to the team that could surely use them.  

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Future MLB All-Stars: National League

What do Michael Bourn, Marlon Byrd, Matt Capps, Andre Ethier, Yovani Gallardo, Jason Heyward, Omar Infante, Ubaldo Jimenez, Hong-Chih Kuo, Brian McCann, Evan Meek, Brandon Phillips, Martin Prado, Arthur Rhodes, Troy Tulowitzki, Joey Votto, Adam Wainwright and Chris Young all have in common?

They were all named to their first All-Star Game in 2010, representing about half of the National League roster last summer. 

With so many young players making a significant impact, let’s make a few predictions on guys who could become regulars on the National League All-Star roster but have yet to make a team for the Midsummer Classic.  

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Future MLB All-Stars: American League

What do Elvis Andrus, Jose Bautista, Adrian Beltre, Clay Buchholz, John Buck, Trevor Cahill, Robinson Cano, Fausto Carmona, Neftali Feliz, Phil Hughes, Jon Lester, David Price, Rafael Soriano, Nick Swisher, Matt Thorton, Jered Weaver and Ty Wigginton all have in common?

They were each named to their first All-Star Game in 2010. This particular bunch represented almost half of the American League roster last summer.

With so many up-and-coming players making a significant impact in the Majors, let’s make a few predictions on guys who will become perennial American League All-Stars but have yet to appear in the Midsummer Classic.

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