Several teams knew what they wanted to do before free-agency and got it done.
New Orleans Voodoo and Atlanta Bandits
New Orleans gets: 2B Gregg Black, C Chuck Reed
Atlanta gets: SP Santiago Perez (AAA)
Analysis: The rich get richer. The Bandits trade an aging (although still potent) Black and a catcher who never did find his stroke in Atlanta for a top of the rotation-type guy in Perez. Perez may not be the hardest thrower, but righties just can't seem to find the ball against him. He's not a big injury risk and the guy's a horse. He'll fit right into Atlanta's already talented starting staff soon. Black represents a risk for the Voodoo. He's still a dangerous hitter, but he put up the lowest numbers of his career. Atlanta picked him up figuring (perhaps rightly) that he was the missing piece in a championship puzzle. I don't see New Orleans, which has missed the playoffs for 5 straight seasons, suddenly being vaulted into contention for the title with this move. Reed, although he may never hit, is a talented defensive catcher who was a large part of the Bandits' title team with his handling of the pitching staff and his leadership. He's still only 25.
Chicago Snake Tamers and Monterrey Sultans
Chicago gets: RF Ryan Snyder
Monterrey gets: SP Shane Simms (Low-A)
Analysis: Chicago gets perennial 40-40 candidate Snyder to boost the offense, as they are still trying to catch the Dirtbags in the Central. Usually Fargo and Chicago make offseason moves to counteract each other, and this was quite a good pickup as an opening salvo. I think Chicago gets the better end of the deal, although not by much. Simms, in my estimation, will never be a star, but he appears to be a solid contributor type- a #3 starter on a good team. Simms was Chicago's 1st roun pick last season.