This offseason should be no different. David Price and Zack Greinke will undoubtedly give their new teams a boost. But a few other acquisitions could end up being just as important in the context of the 2016 postseason.
So which new players could decide this season's pennant races? Well, an easy way to determine that would be to look at each club's projected win total, and subtract the projected WAR of its biggest acquisition. It's an admittedly flawed method, but it's still an interesting way to predict which new players could make an impact.
Based on Steamer's projections, here are the winter additions in each division who will have the biggest impact on the postseason:
In terms of 2016 impact, there probably wasn't a bigger signing than Price. Over the past few seasons, the AL East has been completely up for grabs -- with all five clubs having reached the postseason since 2013. Adding a bona fide ace like Price gives Boston a leg up on the competition.
But Steamer has the Sox projected to win the AL East by seven games, and Price is pegged as being worth 5 WAR. Theoretically, without his presence, Boston is still the favorite. The Yankees, meanwhile, are currently Steamer's top Wild Card team at 85 wins. Without Chapman (projected at 1.4 WAR) they'd fall out of the postseason picture completely.
The National League East appears to be a two-horse race with the Nationals projected as slight favorites. (Steamer forecasts 88 wins for Washington and 85 for the Mets.) In that vein, Daniel Murphy, who is pegged at 2.1 wins, is a good option here, because his addition was also a subtraction for New York. But based on the numbers, the Nats would probably still be slight favorites even without Murphy.
Instead, it's the man replacing Murphy who gets the nod here. The Walker-for-Jon Niese trade worked out nicely for the Mets, who didn't have much of a need for starting pitching but had a glaring hole at second base. Walker is projected to be worth 2.3 wins, and his presence could be huge for the Mets, who Steamer pegs as the NL's second Wild Card, a game ahead of St. Louis and Pittsburgh, Walker's former team.
It's no secret that projection systems don't like Kansas City. By now we've learned that the Royals are simply one of those clubs that is greater than the sum of its parts. But even if we concede that the Royals' world champion status makes them de facto favorites, the Central still figures to be one of baseball's tightest races, with all five clubs capable of winning it.
Currently, Steamer has Cleveland pegged atop the division, with 84 wins, two wins above the new-look Tigers. And while Detroit added Jordan Zimmermann and Justin Upton, the club still comes just short of the postseason in the projections. No one is arguing that Napoli will have a better season than either of them. (In fact, he's worth only 0.7 wins according to Steamer.) But the Indians are atop the standings, and he was their biggest addition this offseason.
The Central wasn't just the toughest division in baseball last year. It was one of the toughest divisions in baseball history. And while the Pirates and Cardinals have finished 1-2 for three straight seasons, it's hard to argue with the idea of the Cubs being preseason favorites -- on paper at least. The same club that won 97 games last season added Heyward and John Lackey -- whose signings help the Cubs as much as they hurt the Cardinals -- along with Ben Zobrist.
No team is projected for more victories than Chicago's 94, and Heyward is valued at 5.1 wins. Theoretically, had Heyward opted to re-sign with St. Louis, that's a 10-win swing and makes the Cards Central favorites.
Miley might be the most surprising name on this list -- especially given the Astros' addition of Ken Giles, who slots in perfectly at the back-end of their bullpen. But while there's no doubt Giles will play a major role in the West race, Houston would be projected for the division crown anyway, even without him.
The Mariners, meanwhile, are pegged at 84 wins, which ties them for the second Wild Card. Miley, who was dealt from Boston, should be a good fit for Safeco Field, where his low rate of hard contact will play nicely. By acquiring Steve Cishek and Joaquin Benoit, the Mariners were able to minimize the loss of Carson Smith. In the meantime, they added Miley, who is projected to be worth 1.9 wins -- wins that could prove pivotal in a tight AL Wild Card race.
Greinke would seem to be the obvious choice for the West's biggest addition. But if Steamer's projections are to be believed, the D-backs are ticketed for a finish around .500 -- meaning Greinke's addition might not affect the playoff picture. The Giants, meanwhile, could be in line for some more even-year magic.
As it stands, Los Angeles is predicted to win the West. But the Giants, who signed Cueto to a six-year, $130 million contract, slot in as the NL's top Wild Card team, with 86 wins. That's one win ahead of the Mets and two wins ahead of the Cardinals and Pirates, according to Steamer. If those rankings are to be believed, Cueto, who is pegged at 3.1 WAR for 2016, could be the difference.
AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.