There may be snow on the ground in much of the country but in less than a month baseball players report to training camp, reprising the smell of freshly cut grass, perfectly drawn lines and the sound of baseballs crashing into bats and gloves. While there are many loose ends still remaining -- most notably teams for Prince Fielder, Johnny Damon, Roy Oswalt and Vlad Guerrero -- most big offseason acquisitions have been finalized. Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, Jonathan Papelbon, Mark Buehrle and Yu Darvish all have new homes. In the coming weeks you're going to be bombarded ad nauseum by analyses of how big name players on new teams teams will affect the fantasy forecasts and stats of individuals, their teammates and teams in general. However, some less-heralded moves have also made an impact. Here are a trio of under-the-radar American Leaguers whose fortunes have improved greatly in light of recent transactions.
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I love this deal simply based on the fact that both teams traded from positions of strength to improve their ballclubs. The finances involved seem to be in the background, as opposed to most other moves these days when nearly all have some component of a salary dump involved in them. That said, while the Mariners likely received their cleanup hitter until 2020, in the short term the Yankees seem to be getting the better of the deal in that Piñeda has the ability to miss bats in a division that features baseball's toughest offenses. As a rookie, Pineda struck out 9.11 batters per nine innings, a number that placed him second to Toronto's Brandon Morrow in the AL and seventh overall, among the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, Justin Verlander and Yovani Gallardo. As a large (6-foot-7, 260 lbs.) power pitcher, he has the perfect mentor in place in CC Sabathia and should benefit greatly from the vast resources the Yankees have in technology, player development and seemingly endless troop of big name ex-major leaguers who are always surrounding the team. With a great bullpen and an unparalleled offense behind him, he's in a great position and is a worthy pickup, especially in keeper leagues. A 15-win season would be the low end of what to expect.