Hot Stove Update: American League East, Part 1

Jamie Squire

Last week we took a peek at the AL West. Now we shift to the AL East, and look at what has transpired for each team this offseason (Part 1 of 2)


AL East 2013 in Review:

After a last place finish in 2012, the Red Sox flipped the script by not only winning the division, but winning their third Series in a decade. They led the division most of April after a hot 18-8 start but fell into third place in mid-May. They regained the division lead by the end of the month, then were involved in a close race until pulling away in early September and coasting to the division title with a 97-65 record.

The Rays took a brief lead on the Red Sox in July, but were in danger of missing the playoffs in mid-September, but finished on a 13-5 run to tie the Rangers for the second Wild Card spot. After winning the one game playoff withTexas, they knocked off the Indians in the Wild Card Game before losing to the Red Sox 3-1 in the ALDS.

The Orioles hung close for most of the season before fading in September. The Yankees suffered one of their worst seasons ever for injuries, using 57 players during the regular season. They were still alive for the playoffs til late in the year though, and were able to tie Baltimore with 85 wins. The Blue Jays (a preseason darling after their eventful offseason) never got anything going and finished 23 games back of Boston.

2013 lineups/rotation/bullpen are based on a balance of full season and September usage. For 2014 what you see is based on current MLB.com depth charts.

Red Sox

2014

2013


2014

2013


Hitting


Pitching

C

AJ Pierzynski

Jarrod Saltalamacchia

SP1

Jon Lester

Jon Lester

1B

Mike Napoli

Mike Napoli

SP2

John Lackey

John Lackey

2B

Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia

SP3

Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

3B

Will Middlebrooks

Will Middlebrooks

SP4

Jake Peavy

Jake Peavy

SS

Xander Bogaerts

Stephen Drew

SP5

Ryan Dempster

Felix Doubront

LF

Daniel Nava

Jonny Gomes

CF

Jackie Bradley

Jacoby Ellsbury

CL

Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara

RF

Shane Victorino

Shane Victorino

RP

Craig Breslow

Junichi Tazawa

DH

David Ortiz

David Ortiz

RP

Edward Mujica

Craig Breslow

RP

Junichi Tazawa

Andrew Miller

IF

Jonathan Herrera

Mike Carp

RP

Alex Wilson

Franklin Morales

OF

Jonny Gomes

Jackie Bradley

RP

Brandon Workman

Matt Thornton

C

David Ross

David Ross

RP

Andrew Miller

Ryan Dempster

OF

Grady Sizemore

Daniel Nava

Transactions

Lost Free Agents: RP Matt Thornton to Yankees; OF Quinton Berry to Orioles (minor); RP Andrew Bailey (unsigned); SP Alfredo Aceves (unsigned); RP Jose Contreras to Rangers (minor); SS Stephen Drew (unsigned); CF Jacoby Ellsbury to Yankees; RP Joel Hanrahan (unsigned); RP Brandon Lyon (released); IF John McDonald to Dodgers (minor); C Jarrod Saltalamacchia to Marlins

Signed Free Agents: Signed C AJ Pierzynski; RP Edward Mujica; 1B Mike Napoli (resigned); OF Grady Sizemore; RP Tommy Layne (minor)

Trades: RP Luis Ortega to Brewers for RP Burke Badenhop; RP Franklin Morales and RP Chris Martin to Rockies for SS Jonathan Herrera

2014 Outlook

After going from the outhouse to the penthouse last season, the Red Sox were unafraid to make a shift in personnel in their bid to become the first repeat champions since the Yankees finished their three-peat in 2000. They let Ellsbury, Saltalamacchia and Drew all walk. The only one of those three they might miss is Ellsbury, as Bradley is unproven to date. If Pierzynski doesn't finally show any aging, he should adequately replace Saltalamacchia. I am not sold on Nava in left, but Gomes is still around if needed. Tribe favorite Sizemore could displace one of those guys, but coming back from all of those injuries is a lot to ask. It will be interesting to see how he does. The rotation stays intact, and is actually very good. The bullpen added a quality arm in former Cardinal closer (and LGFT) Mujica. However, almost every move in 2013 went on the positive side of the ledger. For this season I would expect a bit more regression to the mean, but they definitely should be in the mix for 90 or so wins.

Rays

2014

2013


2014

2013


Hitting


Pitching

C

Ryan Hanigan

Jose Molina

SP1

David Price

David Price

1B

James Loney

James Loney

SP2

Alex Cobb

Matt Moore

2B

Ben Zobrist

Ben Zobrist

SP3

Matt Moore

Alex Cobb

3B

Evan Longoria

Evan Longoria

SP4

Jeremy Hellickson

Jeremy Hellickson

SS

Yunel Escobar

Yunel Escobar

SP5

Chris Archer

Chris Archer

LF

David DeJesus

Matt Joyce

CF

Desmond Jennings

Desmond Jennings

CL

Grant Balfour

Fernando Rodney

RF

Wil Myers

Wil Myers

RP

Heath Bell

Joel Peralta

DH

Matt Joyce

Delmon Young

RP

Joel Peralta

Jamey Wright

RP

Jake McGee

Jake McGee

IF

Sean Rodriguez

Sean Rodriguez

RP

Juan Oviedo

Cesar Ramos

IF

Logan Forsythe

Kelly Johnson

RP

Cesar Ramos

Roberto Hernandez

C

Jose Lobaton

Jose Lobaton

RP

Mark Lowe

Alex Torres

C

Jose Molina

David DeJesus

Transactions

Lost Free Agents: CL Fernando Rodney to Mariners; RP Jesse Crain to Astros; SP Roberto Hernandez/Carmona to Phillies; IF Kelly Johnson to Yankees; RP Jamey Wright to Dodgers; RP Wesley Wright to Cubs; SP Jeff Niemann (unsigned); DH Luke Scott (unsigned); IF Freddy Guzman (unsigned); OF Jason Bourgeois to Reds (minor); 1B Shelley Duncan to Diamondbacks (minor); OF Sam Fuld to A's (minor); RP Ramon Ramirez to Mariners (minor); IF Ryan Roberts to Cubs (minor); DH Delmon Young to Orioles (minor)

Signed Free Agents: CL Grant Balfour; 1B James Loney (resigned); C Jose Molina (resigned); OF David DeJesus (resigned); RP Juan Carlos Oviedo (resigned); RP Mark Lowe (minor); IF Jayson Nix (minor); IF Wilson Betemit (minor)

Trades: RP Justin Choate and CF Todd Glaesman to Diamondbacks for RP Heath Bell and C Ryan Hanigan from Reds; RP Alex Torres and SP Jesse Hahn to Padres for 2B Logan Forsythe, RP Brad Boxberger, RP Matt Andriese, RP Matt Hollis and SS Maxx Tissenbaum

Waivers: Lost C Chris Gimenez to A's

2014 Outlook

The Rays had a fantastic finish in 2013, including road playoff wins at Texas and in Cleveland to end up in the ALDS against the Red Sox. The lineup for 2014 stays mostly intact, with the changes being Young being let go (not a big loss) and adding Ryan Hanigan as their catcher. If Loney can duplicate his 2013 (somewhat of an outlier), the lineup should be in very good shape as Longoria, Myers, Zobrist, Joyce and Jennings are a very solid core. Price was on the block all winter, but at a diamond premium price. He returns to lead the best rotation in the AL. The bullpen got a bit of a shakeup as Balfour takes over for Rodney and Bell and Lowe are added to the mix. I'd like to think the Rays are the favorite on paper for the AL East crown in 2014.

Next up, the Orioles, Yankees and Blue Jays

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