A team-by-team look at the American League East entering spring training, including key players each club acquired and lost, and dates of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and the full squad:
New York Yankees
Manager: Aaron Boone (third season).
2019: 103-59, first place, lost to Houston in AL Championship Series.
Training Town: Tampa, Florida.
Park: George Steinbrenner Field.
First Workout: Feb. 13/18.
He’s Here: RHP Gerrit Cole, C Erik Kratz, C Chris Iannetta, C Josh Thole, RHP Nick Tropeano, LHP Luis Avilán
He’s Outta Here: LHP CC Sabathia, SS Didi Gregorius, 1B Edwin Encarnacion, C Austin Romine, RHP Dellin Betances, OF Cameron Maybin, OF Jacoby Ellsbury, 1B Greg Bird, RHP Chance Adams, LHP Stephen Tarpley, LHP Nestor Cortes Jr., RHP Cory Gearrin
Going campin’: After a big league-record 30 players went on the injured list a total of 39 times last season, health remains a concern. Left-hander James Paxton had back surgery Feb. 5 and is expected to be sidelined until May or June. Switch-hitting center fielder Aaron Hicks is not expected back until June or July following Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Oct. 31, leaving outfielder Brett Gardner as the only left-handed hitter among regulars. That could lead to increased plate appearances for first baseman Mike Ford, outfielder Mike Tauchman and utilityman Tyler Wade, all lefty bats. Gardner figures to play center until Hicks returns, with Giancarlo Stanton switching between left and designated hitter. 1B Luke Voit expects to be ready following Oct. 30 surgery for bilateral core muscle injuries that wrecked the second half of his season. Following the departure of Gregorius to Philadelphia as a free agent, Gleyber Torres shifts from second to shortstop, and DJ LeMahieu becomes the regular at second. 2018 AL Rookie of the Year runner-up Miguel Andújar, coming back from right shoulder surgery on May 20, is working out at third base, first base and left field. Slick-fielding Gio Urshela replaced him at third last year and hit well before fading in September and October. Cole solidifies a rotation that includes righties Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka and lefty J.A. Happ. Left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who returned in September from Tommy John surgery, will compete with right-handers Luis Cessa and Jonathan Loaisiga and rookies Deivi Garcia and Michael King to become the fifth starter for the first two months. Right-hander Domingo Germán, who went 18-4 with a 4.03 ERA last year, will serve the final 63 games of an 81-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy and is eligible to return June 5, barring any postponements. Aroldis Chapman returns to a formidable bullpen that includes Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino, Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle. Kyle Higashioka is the top candidate for backup catcher behind Gary Sánchez, with non-roster invitees Kratz, Iannetta and Thole trying to beat him out.
Tampa Bay Rays
Manager: Kevin Cash (sixth season).
2019: 96-66, second place, lost to Houston in Division Series.
Training Town: Port Charlotte, Florida.
Park: Charlotte Sports Park.
First Workout: Feb. 13/18.
He’s Here: OF Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, OF Hunter Renfroe, 1B-OF José Martínez, 1B-OF Brian O’Grady, OF Randy Arozarena.
He’s Outta Here: C Travis d’Arnaud, INF Eric Sogard, OF Avisaíl García, OF Tommy Pham, 1B Jesus Aguilar, INF Matt Duffy, OF Guillermo Heredia, RHP Austin Pruitt.
Going campin’: After winning 96 games and earning their first playoff berth in six years, the Rays face even higher expectations in 2020. Tampa Bay has an overpowering trio atop the rotation in Charlie Morton, 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow. Tsutsugo, Renfroe and Martínez may bring more thump to the lineup, and Tampa Bay could use it after García left in free agency and Pham was traded to San Diego in the deal that brought in Renfroe. Cash, often clever in his bullpen management, has decisions to make, including whether Emilio Pagán or perhaps Jose Alvarado or Nick Anderson will be the primary closer. Of course, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Cash opts for a committee approach after 11 different pitchers earned saves last season.
Boston Red Sox
2019: 84-78, third place.
Training Town: Fort Myers, Florida.
Park: JetBlue Park at Fenway South.
First Workout: Feb. 12/17.
He’s Here: OF Alex Verdugo, RHP Brusdar Graterol, C Kevin Plawecki, C Jett Bandy, RHP R.J. Alvarez, 2B José Peraza, LHP Martín Pérez, RHP Josh Osich, LHP Matt Hall, RHP Austin Brice.
He’s Outta Here: Manager Alex Cora, OF Mookie Betts, LHP David Price, RHP Andrew Cashner, INF-OF Brock Holt, RHP Jhoulys Chacín, RHP Rick Porcello, 1B Steve Pearce, INF-OF Chris Owings, OF Gorkys Hernández, RHP Steven Wright, 1B Sam Travis, C Sandy León.
Going campin’: The Red Sox have made major changes after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2015, and they aren’t necessarily aimed at improving in 2020. The team this week agreed to send Betts and Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a salary dump. The trade, which still had not been announced, would bring back Verdugo, a talented 23-year-old tasked with replacing the well-rounded Betts in the outfield. Graterol is also supposedly a part of that trade, although reports indicate there may be an issue with his medical information that is holding up the deal’s completion. New baseball boss Chaim Bloom appears to have fulfilled ownership’s wish to get under the $208 million luxury tax threshold. Now the team just needs a manager after Cora was fired for his role in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. With less than a week to go before spring training, the Red Sox still did not have a replacement.
Toronto Blue Jays
Manager: Charlie Montoyo (second season).
2019: 67-95, fourth place.
Training Town: Dunedin, Florida.
Park: TD Ballpark.
First Workout: Feb. 13/17.
He’s Here: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu, RHP Tanner Roark, RHP Chase Anderson, RHP Shun Yamaguchi, RHP Anthony Bass, INF Travis Shaw, INF Joe Panik, INF Ruben Tejada, C Caleb Joseph, RHP Justin Miller, RHP A.J. Cole.
He’s Outta Here: 1B Justin Smoak, RHP Ryan Tepera, RHP Clay Buchholz, C Luke Maile, 2B Devon Travis, RHP Derek Law, RHP Justin Shafer, RHP Jason Adam, LHP Buddy Boshers, INF Richard Urena.
Going campin’: Free-agent arrival Ryu gives Toronto a boost in the rotation as it tries to climb back toward competitiveness after their worst season in four decades. Ryu was the NL Cy Young Award runner-up last year, and Toronto also signed Roark and Yamaguchi — a Japanese pitcher coming to MLB for the first time — and traded for Anderson. Top prospect Nate Pearson, a hard-throwing right-hander, should turn heads when he pitches at big league camp this spring. Pearson is expected to open the season with Triple-A Buffalo, but a big league call-up could come by midseason. Slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and shortstop Bo Bichette delivered impressive debuts in 2019, as did infielder Cavan Biggio, another of Toronto’s young talents whose famous father played in the majors. Toronto hopes that trio, along with outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., will continue to take steps forward in 2020. Despite the blossoming young core and improved pitching staff, playoff contention in the top-heavy AL East likely remains out of reach. A .500 finish might be a more reasonable — but still optimistic — outlook.
Manager: Brandon Hyde (second season).
2019: 54-108, fifth place.
Training Town: Sarasota, Fla.
Park: Ed Smith Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 12/17.
He’s Here: SS José Iglesias, INF Pat Valaika, INF Richard Ureña, RHP Brandon Bailey, RHP Kohl Stewart, RHP Travis Lakins, RHP Michael Rucker, RHP Kohl Stewart, RHP Cole Sulser.
He’s Outta Here: INF Jonathan Villar, RHP Dylan Bundy, RHP Aaron Brooks.
Going campin’: The Orioles launched their rebuild in 2019 under general manager Mike Elias and Hyde with their second straight 100-loss season, and the prospect for significant improvement this year is dim at best. After finishing 49 games behind the first-place Yankees, Elias is intent upon fortifying the farm system and loading up the big league team with youthful, inexpensive talent, an agenda that led to the trades of Villar and Bundy for prospects. Hyde’s goal in his second season as a big league manager is to strengthen the defense behind an uncertain rotation led by LHP John Means, who went 12-11 as a rookie and made the All-Star team. Right-hander Alex Cobb returns from a hip injury that sidelined him for most of 2019, and the other three starters will be determined this spring. Mychal Givens hopes to retain the closer’s role coming off a rocky, inconsistent season in which he went 2-6 with a 4.57 ERA and eight blown saves. The biggest question mark at camp will be how Chris Davis fares in his effort to bounce back from another horrid season (.179, 12 HRs, 36 RBIs). Davis still has three years left on a $161 million contract he signed in 2016.
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