As spring training gets started this weekend, the Orioles will be looking for their No. 5 starter, a closer, a left-fielder and a DH.
Here is what the Orioles are up against with the four teams in the AL East:
* BOSTON - The Red Sox, who beat St. Louis in the World Series last season, will try to be the first team to repeat as World Series champions since the 1998-2000 Yankees won three consecutively. ... Unless the Red Sox sign Stephen Drew, they will use prospect Xander Bogaerts at shortstop. Another rookie, Jackie Bradley Jr., is likely the center fielder replacing Jacoby Ellsbury. ... Catcher A.J. Pierzynski has replaced Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the new member of the bullpen is Edward Mujica, who will work in a setup role for closer Koji Uehera. Uehara, a former Oriole, faces big expectations after an incredible season as the Plan C closer in 2013. ... The Red Sox have plenty of starters in Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Felix Doubront, Jake Peavy and Ryan Dempster. ... Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz are the faces of the Red Sox’s most successful run since 2004.
* NEW YORK - After not making the playoffs last season, the Yankees spent $438 million to add pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, and catcher Brian McCann. ... Ellsbury in center field and Brett Gardner in left will give the Yankees a strong defensive outfield, but their infield is old and injured. Kelly Johnson will replace A-Rod at third. Derek Jeter, coming back from an ankle injury, is 40 in June and announced this will be his final season. Former Oriole Brian Roberts will be at second and first baseman Mark Teixeira, 34 in April, is coming back from a wrist injury that wiped out most of last season for him. ... CC Sabathia looks healthy and Tanaka improves the rotation, but the two best pitching stories are Michael Pineda’s return to the rotation after missing a year with injury and David Robertson replacing Mariano Rivera in the closer’s role.
* TAMPA BAY - Lefty David Price didn’t get traded this offseason and with two years left before free agency, he’s going to be around to lead the Rays. ... The Rays will be without pitcher Jeremy Hellickson for six weeks, so that leaves prospect Jake Odorizzi, 23, as the top candidate to join Matt Moore, Chris Archer, Alex Cobb and Price in the rotation. ... The new closer is Grant Balfour, who nearly signed with the Orioles. Balfour’s signing with the Rays should fuel an ever-strong Orioles-Rays rivalry. ... Third baseman Evan Longoria played on a surgically repaired hamstring last season and should have his usual influence in the lineup. ... Wil Myers, the AL Rookie of the Year in 2013, returns as the right fielder.
* TORONTO - In a nutshell, the Blue Jays’ season boils down to this: They can score runs, but will they have the pitching to take advantage of a high-powered offense? ... After spending big and going bust on free agents last season, the Blue Jays are in a do-over mode. Catcher Dioner Navarro is the only major change in the lineup. ... The Blue Jays hope that healthy players such as pitcher Brandon Morrow, shortstop Jose Reyes, outfielders Jose Bautista and Melky Cabrera, and third baseman Brett Lawrie will make a difference. ... First baseman Edwin Encarnacion is the most underrated power hitter in the AL. ... The top four in the rotation is set with R.A. Dickey, Morrow, Mark Buehrle and J.A. Happ. ... The closer will be Casey Janssen.