|AL East teams at the start of spring training|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 12 February 2014 06:39|
Boston Red Sox
Manager: John Farrell (second season).
2013: 97-65, first place, World Series champions.
Training Town: Fort Myers, Fla.
Park: JetBlue Park.
First Workout: Feb. 15/18.
He's Here: C A.J. Pierzynski, OF Grady Sizemore, RHP Edward Mujica, IF Jonathan Herrera.
He's Outta Here: CF Jacoby Ellsbury, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, SS Stephen Drew, LHP Franklin Morales, RHP Andrew Bailey, RHP Joel Hanrahan.
Going campin': The Red Sox won the World Series title for the third time in 10 years and one year after going 69-93. In the offseason, they continued their strategy of signing mid-level free agents to short-term contracts that worked so well the previous year. They let Ellsbury sign with the New York Yankees for seven years and Saltalamacchia join the Miami Marlins on a three-year deal. They made few roster additions, adding Pierzynski, Sizemore, Mujica and Herrera. The pitching staff has great depth among starters with six returning veterans, led by Jon Lester, and talented young prospects. The bullpen is solid with closer Koji Uehara and setup men Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow all returning. The positive karma that replaced a dysfunctional clubhouse should continue under the steady hand of Farrell, who took over when Bobby Valentine was fired after the 2012 season, and with David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Jonny Gomes. Look for a breakout year for two youngsters - SS/3B Xander Bogaerts ?and CF Jackie Bradley Jr.
Tampa Bay Rays
Manager: Joe Maddon (ninth season).
2013: 92-71, 2nd place, lost to Boston in division series.
Training Town: Port Charlotte, Fla.
Park: Charlotte Sports Park.
First Workout: Feb. 15/20.
He's Here: C Ryan Hanigan, RHP Grant Balfour, RHP Heath Bell, RHP Brad Boxberger, INF Logan Forsythe, RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo, INF Jayson Nix, INF Ray Olmedo, INF Wilson Betemit.
He's Outta Here: RHP Fernando Rodney, DH Luke Scott, OF Kelly Johnson, DH Delmon Young, OF Sam Fuld, INF Ryan Roberts, RHP Roberto Hernandez, RHP Jamey Wright, LHP Alex Torres.
Going campin': The Rays enter spring training with a projected payroll of nearly $80 million, which would be a franchise record and also speaks to expectations for 2014. Principal owner Stuart Sternberg spent generously - at least by Tampa Bay standards - to ensure most of the key components of a team that won 92 games and made the playoffs for the fourth time in six seasons remained together. That includes not trading 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner David Price and instead giving him a $14 million, one-year contract; re-signing first baseman James Loney; picking up options on infielders Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar; trading for Hanigan, Bell and Forsythe, and signing Balfour, the closer, in free agency. With Price anchoring one of the strongest starting rotations in baseball and Evan Longoria and 2013 AL rookie of the year Wil Myers providing a powerful one-two punch in the middle of the batting order, the Rays not only expect to contend the AL East title but feel they have what it takes to win the World Series.
Manager: Buck Showalter (fifth season).
2013: 85-77, tied for third place.
Training Town: Sarasota, Fla.
Park: Ed Smith Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 14/19.
He's Here: RHP Ryan Webb, INF Jemile Weeks, OF David Lough, OF Francisco Peguero, OF Delmon Young, OF Xavier Gray, RHP Edgmer Escalona, SS Alex Gonzalez, RHP Alfredo Aceves.
He's Outta Here: RHP Jim Johnson, 2B Brian Roberts, LF Nate McLouth, RHP Jason Hammel, DH Wilson Betemit, RHP Scott Feldman, OF Michael Morse, C Taylor Teagarden, DH Danny Valencia, RHP Francisco Rodriguez.
Going campin': The Orioles have plenty of questions to be answered before opening day, most notably: Who will be the closer? VP Dan Duquette traded away Jim Johnson to cut salary, and after Grant Balfour failed his physical, the team was left without a clear-cut replacement. Sorting that out, determining a starting rotation without an apparent ace, choosing successors to McLouth in left field and Roberts at second base will keep Showlater busy throughout spring training. Showalter led Baltimore into the playoffs in 2012 and milked 85 wins out of the team last year, but keeping the Orioles competitive in the AL East will be a difficult task with a squad whose payroll pales to that of Boston and the Yankees.
New York Yankees
Manager: Joe Girardi (seventh season).
2012: 85-77, tied for third place.
Training Town: Tampa, Fla.
Park: George M. Steinbrenner Field.
First Workout: Feb. 14/19.
He's Here: C Brian McCann, OF Jacoby Ellsbury, OF-DH Carlos Beltran, INF-OF Kelly Johnson, 2B Brian Roberts, INF Scott Sizemore, LHP Matt Thornton, RHP Masahiro Tanaka.
He's Outta Here: 2B Robinson Cano, OF Curtis Granderson, 3B Kevin Youkilis, DH Travis Hafner, OF-DH Vernon Wells, 1B-3B Mark Reynolds, 1B Lyle Overbay, C Chris Stewart, RHP Mariano Rivera, LHP Andy Pettitte, RHP Joba Chamberlain, LHP Boone Logan, RHP Phil Hughes.
Going campin': When the Yankees lose 10 more games than they did the previous season and miss out on the playoffs for just the second time in 19 years they don't sit still, they reload. Setting aside the desire to get payroll below the $189 million luxury tax threshold, managing partner Hal Steinbrenner went on a spending spree not seen in New York since the Bronx Bombers missed the playoffs in 2008. Back then, the Yankees spent $423.5 million in the offseason and won their 27th World Series championship the next season. They topped that this winter. Including the $20 million fee paid to Tanaka's Japanese team, the Yankees committed $471 million on free agents. But will adding stars such as Ellsbury, Beltran, McCann and Tanaka to fill glaring holes on an aging roster be enough to overcome some significant issues? Alex Rodriguez is suspended for the season and New York has not found a marquee replacement at third base. Cano, the club's top hitter the past several seasons, left for Seattle. Derek Jeter played only 17 games last year after breaking his leg in the 2012 playoffs. He is set to be the starting shortstop in the year he will turn 40. Mark Teixeira is returning from a wrist injury, CC Sabathia is coming off his worst season (14-13, 4.78 ERA) and Pettitte has retired. Even with the addition of Tanaka, who was 24-0 in the regular season for Ratuken in 2013, the Yankees still need a fifth starter. To close, New York will rely on someone besides Rivera for first time since 1997. David Robertson is the likely candidate. He has eight saves in 18 career chances.
Toronto Blue Jays
Manager: John Gibbons (second season).
2013: 74-88, fifth place.
Training Town: Dunedin, Fla.
Park: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 19/21.
He's Here: C Erik Kratz, INF Brent Morel, C Dioner Navarro, LHP Rob Rasmussen.
He's Outta Here: C J.P. Arencibia, INF Mark DeRosa, RHP Josh Johnson, RHP Brad Lincoln, LHP Darren Oliver.
Going campin': Arguably no team in baseball flopped bigger than the Blue Jays in 2013, slumping to the bottom of the AL East after loading up with a pair of huge offseason trades. Rather than retool again, Toronto is taking another shot with a similar lineup. Starting pitching, the supposed strength of last year's team, turned into a sore spot and remains a question mark. Knuckleballer and former Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey heads the staff, with Mark Buehrle behind him and Brandon Morrow among the many rotation candidates returning from injury. What the Blue Jays get from Morrow, Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek and J.A. Happ will go a long way toward determining their ability to compete in a division that's deeper than ever. Sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, along with former batting champ Jose Reyes, all of whom also missed time with injuries last season, remain Toronto's key offensive cogs. Injuries have helped derail the past two seasons in Toronto. The Blue Jays must stay healthy in 2014 to end baseball's second longest playoff drought, now 21 years.