The AL East has gone from a three team race to a full five team melee this season. The Blue Jays and Red Sox revamped their rosters, adding a wealth of new talent. Th Rays did what they do best, swapping pricey veterans for top young players on the verge of major league stardom and the Yankees and the Orioles put their trust in the core that helped them to 90+ wins last year. The result might be the most difficult division in baseball to predict.
Major Additions: Jair Jurrjens, Luis Ayala, Alexi Casilla
Key Departures: Mark Reynolds, Joe Saunders
Significant Injuries: Wilson Betemit, Jair Jurrjens
After surprising the American League and defying the laws of win probability, the Orioles had a very quiet off-season. Instead of adding, they brought back most of their key contributors like Nate McLouth and Wilson Betemit. They lost out on the bidding for Joe Saunders and had to watch the lefty head West for
Boston Red Sox
Major Additions: Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, David Ross, Jonny Gomes, Stephen Drew, Ryan Dempster, Joel Hanrahan, Koji Uehara
Key Departures: Cody Ross, James Loney, Mike Aviles, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Mark Melancon
Significant Injuries: David Ortiz, Stephen Drew,
After the debacle that was the Red Sox 2012 season,
New York Yankees
Major Additions: Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells, Brennan Boesch
Key Departures: Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, Rafael Soriano
Significant Injuries: Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Phil Hughes
Following another division title and another early exit from the playoffs, the Yankees were uncharacteristically cost-conscious this off-season. They let Russell Martin walk away rather than outbid the Pirates and chose to save money in right with a 39 year-old Ichiro rather than paying to keep Nick Swisher, breaking the bank on Josh Hamilton or selling off the farm for Justin Upton. Kevin Youkilis was brought in when it became apparent that Alex Rodriguez would need hip surgery and miss at least the first half of the season, but overall, the Yankees made few significant signings. With plenty of talent already on the roster and the goal landing under the $189M luxury tax threshold for 2014 in their sights, this strategy was understandable. Then spring hit and the Yankee core was decimated by injuries. New York will begin the season without Jeter, A-Rod, Teixeira and Granderson and unlike so many times in the past, they have few backup options.
Tampa Bay Rays
Major Additions: Wil Myers, Kelly Johnson, James Loney, Yunel Escobar
Key Departures: B.J. Upton, James Shields, Wade Davis, Carlos Pena
Significant Injuries: None
In what could turn out to be the biggest steal of the off-season, Tampa Bay landed the number one hitting prospect in baseball, Wil Myers, and two solid pitching prospects in Jake Ordorizzi and Mike Montgomery in a trade with the Royals.
Toronto Blue Jays
Major Additions: Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, Melky Cabrera, Maicer Izturis
Key Departures: Yunel Escobar, Carlos Villanueva, Kelly Johnson
Significant Injuries: None