While this offseason for the Red Sox has been relatively quiet the American League East has gone through some dramatic changes. The Red Sox have six, maybe seven capable starting pitchers if you include Brandon Workman and seem to be in no rush to move one. I see where they are coming from as names like Matt Garza and Ervin Santana are still available so the teams losing out on those two will need arms and might be willing to pay a little more. The return the Tigers got for Doug Fister seems to be some the Red Sox would want for either Peavy or Dempster and expect more for Lackey or Doubront, if they go that route.
Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano left the Yankees this offseason for the Mets and Mariners respectively.
The free agency season has been kind to the wallets of new Yankees players as they have added a slew of players to a team that really suffered with depth issues last season. Gone are Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson which as a Red Sox fan will be good because they always mashed Red Sox pitching. Although it was always good to see great players like Cano and Granderson on the field. The Yankees brought in Brian McCann to be their catcher as last offseason they let Russell Martin go and the catching position for the Yankees struggled last year. Jacoby Ellsbury got big money from the Yankees and will have a lot of expectations in New York after that contract signing. Some forget that Carlos Beltran also signed with the Yankees so their outfield will have good defense with Gardner, Ellsbury, and Beltran.
The Alex Rodriguez hearing is not scheduled to resume until January so the Yankees might be done spending big money because if his suspension is lifted they will be close to the luxury tax. Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson were brought in to help with infield depth because without Rodriguez, Johnson could play a lot of third base. Mariano Rivera won’t be walking through that bullpen door in the ninth any longer so right now it seems like David Robertson will be closing. Matt Thornton after a short stint with the Red Sox also turned in his socks for pinstripes.
The Rays started early with their usual under the radar moves and not spending big on free agents. They acquired Ryan Hanigan and Heath Bell in a trade to fortify the catching position as well as the back end of the bullpen as Fernando Rodney will probably be pitching elsewhere next season. The Rays retained James Loney on a three year deal. He provided the Rays with stellar defense at first base as well as hit for a great average in his first season in Tampa. It is expected that the Rays are looking to trade David Price as his value is at an all time high with two years of control left which the Rays have traded the likes of Shields and Garza in the same position. Price is certainly going to want an expensive contract when he hits free agency so the Rays would be smart to move him now if they can get an impact player like Wil Myers in return like they did last year.
The Orioles I feel have regressed this offseason. Nate McLouth their regular left fielder, left for Washington and the Orioles might have to play the often injured Nolan Reimold in left field. The O’s also traded their All Star closer to Oakland for Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later. Weeks could be the everyday second baseman while Grant Balfour switches jobs with Johnson as he came over from Oakland via free agency. Manny Machado will be coming back from a leg injury and might not be 100% when the season starts. Also starting pitching has always been a problem for the Orioles and they were unable to keep Scott Feldman, who they acquired last year from the Cubs.
The Blue Jays who grabbed all the headlines last offseason with huge trades with the Mets and Marlins have stayed quiet this offseason. Dioner Navarro came over from the Cubs and will be their everyday catcher. R.A. Dickey will most likely have his personal catcher Josh Thole behind the plate to try and replicate the success he had while he was with the Mets, after a down year during his first year in Toronto. If Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion can stay healthy and be a 3-4 combo Toronto was hoping for Toronto may leave the AL East basement next season.
The Red Sox acquired infield Jonathan Herrera from the Rockies today.
There is no question the American League East has talent top to bottom. The Red Sox won a World Series last year while the Rays won the Wild Card. Baltimore and New York both finished with 85 wins and Toronto had 74 wins. This was one of only two divisions without a 90 loss team. The Yankees will certainly be better offensively but they need starting pitching and Robertson to figure out the closer role. The Rays will be their usual selves and Maddon will manage to win every game and they will likely be there in the end. I feel Baltimore has taken a step back and their window may be closing if they cannot extend Matt Wieters or Chris Davis. Toronto has to improve with all that talent and they came on late last year. The Sox lost Ellsbury, Saltalamacchia and likely Drew but will have others healthy and ready to take on a bigger role with the team. Ben Cherington just added a bench piece in infielder Jonathan Herrera from the Rockies today for Franklin Morales. Looks for more small moves like this from the Red Sox as spring training is under two months away.