It was on January 11 of 2010 that the Giants -- having tried and failed to sign Adam LaRoche -- took a $3 million gamble on Aubrey Huff, and now they're in the process of assessing championship ring designs, partly because of how well Huff played for them. Scott Podsednik signed with the Royals for $1.75 million Jan. 8 and wound up having a good season, hitting .297 with 35 steals.
There were also a lot of these kinds of bargain-feeding deals that didn't pay off. Erik Bedard got $1.5 million from the Mariners, the Nationals gave Chien-Ming Wang $2 million, and the Pirates signed Brendan Donnelly for $1.5 million -- and that trio combined for exactly 30.2 innings (all by Donnelly).
We've officially entered that part of the winter when teams are assessing risks and rewards and buying baseball's version of lottery tickets.
For much more on a bunch of names that could fill the bargain bin, a close look at some Hall of Fame angles, plus a lot of chatter around the league, you need to be an ESPN Insider.