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Grading the First Half of the Offseason: AL East

The Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays have all made big news.

League Championship Series - Boston Red Sox v Houston Astros - Game Five Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

It’s the end of December. We’re just about two months into the offseason, and there’s around 50 days until players start reporting to Spring Training.

Let’s check out and grade how every American League East team has done this offseason, listed in order of their 2018 regular season records.

Boston Red Sox: B+
2018 record: 108-54
Fresh off a World Series championship, the Boston Red Sox got to work preparing for another run at the title. In the middle of November, they struck a deal with World Series MVP first baseman Steve Pearce, bringing him back to Boston. Later, they made their first trade of the offseason, acquiring reliever RHP Colten Brewer from the San Diego Padres for 2B Esteban Quiroz. Their third big move was bringing back Nathan Eovaldi on a huge four-year, $68 million deal. Entering the offseason, their biggest goals were to bring back Pearce and Eovaldi and adding a reliever, so they accomplished that. But besides those three moves, it’s been a quiet offseason for Boston, with plenty of work still to be done.

New York Yankees: B+
2018 record: 100-62
The first couple of weeks of the offseason were quiet for the Yankees, but they changed that when they struck a deal with the Mariners to acquire pitcher James Paxton. They also made a few trades involving minor-leaguers, as well as a swap with the Chicago Cubs that sent Ronald Torreyes to the Windy City. The club also made a pair of major-league signings by bringing back J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia, while mixing in a flurry of minor-league deals with Ryan Lavarnway, Danny Coulombe, and Rex Brothers. After missing out on signing Patrick Corbin and Nathan Eovaldi, it was crucial for them to re-sign J.A. Happ, and they did. Throw in a Bryce Harper or Manny Machado before Spring Training begins, and 2018 could be a fantastic year for the Yankees.

Tampa Bay Rays: B
2018 record: 90-72
The Rays have been busy this offseason, making many roster moves. They’ve made several trades and minor-league signings, but have only signed one player to a major-league deal so far. As for trades, they’ve been involved in four, including two three-team deals. First, they acquired Mike Zunino and Guillermo Heredia while trading away Mallex Smith in a five-player deal with the Seattle Mariners. Next, they sent Chih-Wei Hu to the Cleveland Indians. Then, they were involved in the three-team trade with the Mariners and Cleveland Indians that sent Edwin Encarnacion to Seattle and Carlos Santana to Cleveland. The Rays were involved as they sent Jake Bauers to Cleveland and cash to Seattle, while picking up Yandy Diaz and a minor-leaguer. Finally, they got Emilio Pagan and international slot money from the Oakland Athletics, and a minor-leaguer from the Texas Rangers, in a massive three-team deal that resulted in them losing three minor-league pitchers. Their one big signing came when they reached an agreement with pitcher Charlie Morton. There’s still some work to do, but the Rays seem to be heading in the right direction.

Toronto Blue Jays: C
2018 record: 73-89
The offseason has been quiet for the Blue Jays, who only made one major-league signing: a one-year deal with righty Matt Shoemaker. Meanwhile, their lone trade came when they sent Aledmys Diaz to the Houston Astros. Their only other significant move came when they released Troy Tulowitzki, dumping his massive contract. There have been rumors that they could trade away a catcher, and they have even discussed a potential trade of Marcus Stroman with other teams, but nothing is imminent. The AL East is a tough division to play in, and, at this rate, the Blue Jays won’t surpass their talented .500+ division-mates above them.

Baltimore Orioles: D
2018 record: 47-115
The Orioles had an awful 2018 season, and things aren’t looking up for them in 2019. They have yet to make any significant moves, and of the five people they have signed this offseason, two of them (Sean Gilmartin and Josh Lucas) remain in Triple-A. The other three are either in lower levels, or were selected by other clubs in the Rule 5 Draft. They also claimed Rio Ruiz off waivers from the Atlanta Braves and acquired Drew Jackson from the Philadelphia Phillies, while losing Ryan Meisinger to the St. Louis Cardinals via the waiver process. At least at this point last year, the Orioles had guys like Zach Britton, Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Kevin Gausman, and Darren O’Day. They have all been traded away as the Orioles destroy their major-league roster in the midst of a massive rebuild.