With all five teams in the American League East posting winning records for much of the 2023 season, this looked like the best division in baseball. That all changed during the postseason.
When looking at the MLB odds, the New York Yankees are expected to be the top threat to defending division champion Baltimore. The Yankees added outfielder Juan Soto while Baltimore countered with the acquisition of former Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes.
When looking at the MLB futures odds, the Yankees and Orioles are among the teams with the best odds of winning the World Series.
With players reporting for spring training, here’s an early look at the American League East.
New York Yankees
The Yankees added a major piece to the offense with the trade for outfielder Juan Soto, one of the top players in the majors in on-base percentage. He should take some of the pressure off former American League Most Valuable Player Aaron Judge.
On deck. pic.twitter.com/Icc8qlp6F1
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) February 12, 2024
New York did have to give up some pitchers to acquire Soto from the San Diego Padres, including top reliever Michael King.
The Yankees signed Marcus Stroman and added reliever Caleb Ferguson.
Judge, Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton combined to miss 180 games a season ago. Injuries also limited starting pitchers Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes to 14 and 12 starts a season ago so the Yankees could make some noise if they stay healthy.
The Orioles came of age last season on the way to the American League East title and the No. 1 seed in the American League playoffs.
The roster is full of rising stars, including catcher Adley Rutschman, infielder Gunnar Henderson and starting pitcher Kyle Bradish.
The trade for former National League Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes should help address the lack of star power at the top of the rotation. Veteran closer Craig Kimbrel was added to help in the bullpen.
The batting lineup will look pretty much the same as it did a season ago unless more recent draftees prove ready to make the jump to the majors.
The Orioles won’t sneak up on anybody this year.
Toronto Blue Jays
While many of the division rivals have made moves to bolster their rosters, the same can’t be said for the Blue Jays.
Third baseman Matt Chapman, first baseman Brandon Belt, second baseman Whit Merrifield and relief pitcher Jordan Hicks are among those who elected to become free agents. Reliever Adam Cimber headed to the Los Angeles Angels.
Infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa comes in from division rival New York.
One of the biggest questions is the ability of Alek Manoah to return to his 2022 form, when he won 16 games. If that happens, this could be one of the top rotations in the division.
George Springer, Vlad Guerrero, Bo Bichette and catcher Alejandro Kirk will lead the offense.
Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay won 99 games a season ago despite injuries to starting pitchers Shane McClanahan and Drew Rasmussen and troubling accusations surrounding shortstop Wander Franco.
The Rays did lose starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow, now with the Los Angeles Dodgers. There are plenty of young pitchers who can make their presence felt in the rotation.
Outfielder Randy Arozarena and infielders Yandy Diaz and Brandon Lowe do return but this feels like a team with some holes in the lineup.
Tampa Bay has relied on its strong farm system to overcome the departures of key players in the past. Will it be the same story this season?
Boston Red Sox
The Boston fans were already getting restless after a last-place finish in the AL East before former Cy Young Award winner Chris Sale was traded to Atlanta for infielder Vaughn Grissom.
Grissom joins former St. Louis outfielder Tyler O’Neill as new faces to watch in the revamped batting order.
Pitcher Lucas Giolito was added to the roster. He went 8-15 while pitching for three different teams last year.
Brayan Bello and Nick Pivetta were the only pitchers with more than 10 wins for Boston last season so this rotation has more questions than answers.
The Red Sox do have infielder Rafael Devers, rising star Triston Casas and Masataka Yoshida to build the lineup around. However, three of the six players with at least 10 home runs last season are gone.
Questions Of The Day
Which team is favored to win the American League East Division?
The New York Yankees have the best odds at +150 to win the division title in 2024.