Here’s what’s going on in the American League East as the offseason begins:
Baltimore: The Orioles, who finished last in the American League East, are in need of a rotation behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy. Gausman had a bad first half and a good second half. Bundy was their most consistent pitcher in 2017. ... They need to search all avenues, including free agents, trades, minor league free agents and prospects. It’s possible they could get CC Sabathia, Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb. ... The Orioles are thinking about bringing back Chris Tillman and/or Wade Miley, hoping for a bounceback season. ... Would the Orioles trade Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Chris Davis or Mark Trumbo for starting pitching? ... Would the Orioles fans welcome Jake Arrieta back to Baltimore? ... If they sign big-name free agent pitchers, does that affect whether they can keep Machado or Britton long-term, given can be free agents after 2018. ... Tim Beckham made a good impression after arriving in a trade for Tampa Bay, but, given that Orioles manager Buck Showalter treasures defense, could shortstop J.J. Hardy make a return to the Orioles. His defense would be invaluable.
Boston: The Red Sox, with new manager Alex Cora replacing John Farrell, will take aim at a third consecutive AL East title in 2018 with the idea of trying to go deeper than the Division Series. ... The Red Sox need a power bat, bullpen depth and a fortified bench. The Red Sox could replace Mitch Moreland at first base with free agents Eric Hosmer or Carlos Santana. ... Is power-hitting outfielder J.D. Martinez heading for Boston? ... Chris Sale leads the rotation and the Red Sox hope that a healthy David Price can return to the rotation.
New York: The Yankees, who came within a win of making the World Series, have a core of young players and $71 million coming off the books for 2018. ... Masahiro Tanaka opted in to the final three years on his contract, and the Yankees will have to make decision on lefty Sabathia, 37, who wants to stay. The rotation has solid starters Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery and Sonny Gray. ... The infield is set with, from first to third, Greg Bird, Starlin Casto, Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley, who has one year left on his contract. ... The Yankees likely won’t sign free agent Todd Frazier because they might save their money and get into the bidding after 2018 for potential free agent Machado. ... The outfield has Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, a candidate for AL MVP, and Clint Frazier. ... The Yankees hope that catcher Gary Sánchez, with good power, can improve his defensive game.
Tampa Bay: The Rays finished two games under .500 this season and their biggest issue for 2018 is first base. Logan Morrison (38 home runs) and Lucas Duda (13 home runs) are going to be free agents. The Rays need a team-friendly contract to get either of them, so they’ll see what happens with the market forces for power hitters. ... The Rays also expect to lose pitcher Cobb to free agency, but their rotation is still strong with Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Matt Andriese, Alex Pruitt and Blake Snell. ... The bullpen will also need to be addressed, assuming Steve Cishek and Tommy Hunter will leave via free agency.
Toronto: The Blue Jays didn’t make the playoffs, but they are close to being set. ... The Blue Jays need to replace José Bautista in right field and could look to free agents such as Martinez or Jay Bruce to fill the spot. The centerfielder is Kevin Pillar and the left-field job appears to be a battle among Teoscar Hernandez, Steve Pearce, Ezequiel Carrera and Anthony Alford. ... The Blue Jays also hope to lock up third baseman Josh Donaldson to a long-term contract in the offseason. ... The bullpen is solid and the rotation has Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada and Joe Biagini.