In fact, as we get closer to the July 31 trade deadline, baseball fans are in the midst of enjoying what is a head-spinning, unusual time of year.
Amidst all of the speculation, rumors, opinions, debate and endless possibilities that the trade deadline brings, there's also a great deal of excitement. Every season, there's no telling what could transpire and who could be dealt, as teams look to bolster their roster in an effort to make a postseason run.
This season, fans are hearing a heavy dose of rumors regarding Carlos Beltran, Ubaldo Jimenez, B.J. Upton and Hunter Pence, among others, but each year is different, with teams ultimately having to decide how much they're willing to give up in order to improve.
But teams also face that decision during the offseason, when trades and free agent signings keep the hot stove burning all winter long.
With free agency such a huge part of today's game, the offseason is often when teams become contenders by way of a big transaction. Just look at the Red Sox, who traded for All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and signed Carl Crawford to a monster deal via free agency.
A lot of times, though, a team's real top talent comes up through the organization, which makes the MLB draft so important.
For years, the league's draft wasn't hyped up as much as that of other sports leagues, particularly because it's rare that a player heads straight to the majors and makes an impact immediately upon being drafted. But with the draft now televised and its importance evident, the event is beginning to grow in popularity, with the likes of phenoms Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper captivating baseball fans in recent years.
And then, of course, there's the time when pitchers and catchers report to spring training, signaling that the winter will soon be coming to an end and that the MLB season will be in full swing before long.
While we're fed a heavy dose of other sports action throughout the winter months, spring training is always much anticipated. It's more about preparation than anything, but when pitchers and catchers report, it's that feeling of knowing that baseball is just around the corner that makes it such a special time of year.
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