Yankee pitchers and catchers report for spring training on February 18, which means that we've passed the halfway point in the offseason. The Yankees have made a few upgrades already through various trades, but the other teams in the AL East have been busy as well. Here's a look at what the rest of the division has been up to so far.
Boston Red Sox
After finishing the 2015 season in last place in the division, the Red Sox wasted no time in acquiring one of the best closers in baseball. They put together a package consisting entirely of minor league players and sent Logan Allen, Carlos Asuaje, Javier Guerra and Manuel Margot to the Padres in exchange for Craig Kimbrel. The Red Sox had the worst bullpen in the East last year with a collective 4.24 ERA and 4.64 FIP that was worth -1.4 fWAR (The Rays' bullpen had the second lowest fWAR at 1.2). Kimbrel wasn't quite as good last year as he has been in the past, but the move undoubtedly gives the Red Sox bullpen a boost.
The Red Sox made another huge move by signing David Price to a seven-year deal worth $217 million. He's the clear ace in their rotation, with Clay Buccholz, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez and Joe Kelly listed behind him on the depth chart, though they have several starters to chose from. It won't be fun for the Yankees to face Price that many times during the season, but adding Price doesn't make the rest of the rotation better. In addition to Kimbrel and Price, the Red Sox signed former Yankee Chris Young as a backup outfielder, and right-handed pitcher Sean O'Sullivan. The Red Sox also traded Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro to the Mariners for starter Roenis Elias and reliever Carson Smith.
Toronto Blue Jays
Last year, the Blue Jays clenched the division title and made an impressive run in the postseason, after making several big trades just before the deadline. One of those trades brought in Price, who they lost to free agency when the season ended. In an effort to re-stock the rotation, the Blue Jays brought back Marco Estrada and re-signed J.A. Happ after trading him to the Mariners the previous year. They also traded Liam Hendriks to that Athletics in exchange for starter Jesse Chavez. Marcus Stroman, R.A. Dickey and Drew Hutchison round out the rest of the rotation options. Stroman is by and far the best pitcher in that rotation, otherwise the Blue Jays have done very little to improve it.
Aside from adding arms to the rotation, the Blue Jays have signed several players to minor league deals including Melky Mesa, Scott Diamond, David Adams and Casey Kotchman. They haven't made any changes to the lineup, but they don't really need to. There were rumors floating around a few weeks ago that they might be interested in signing Chris Davis, but nothing has come of that so far.
Tampa Bay Rays
Of all the teams in the AL East, the Rays have been the least active over the offseason. In early November, they traded Boog Powell, Nate Karns and C.J. Riefenhauser to the Mariners in exchange for reliever Danny Farquhar, utility player Brad Miller and first baseman Logan Morrison (who is listed as the Rays' designated hitter on their depth chart). That has been their one big move so far.
The Rays also selected former Yankee Chase Whitley off of waivers, though he likely won't even be able to help the team until mid-season at the soonest since he is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Whitley is an interesting addition to the team, considering that the Rays already have Alex Cobb recovering from the same surgery, and he's also expected to miss the first few months of the season. Other than that, the Rays have purchased catcher Hank Conger from the Astros, and also signed a handful of players to minor league deals, including Jhan Marinez, Robert Valera and Jose Roca. The Rays are rumored to be interested in dealing Jake Odorizzi, in which case they would likely need to sign or trade for another starting pitcher.
The Orioles finished the season with a winning percentage of exactly .500. During the offseason, they've done quite a bit of work to retain players that could have been lost to free agency. Not only did they re-sign Matt Wieters, but they also brought back Darren O'Day. The Orioles made an offer to Chris Davis that has since been taken off the table. They also added an outfielder by signing Hyun-soo Kim who previously played for the Doosan Bears of the KBO League.
As far as trades go, the Orioles made a deal with the Mariners (who have dealt with almost the entire AL East at this point) to send over Steve Clevenger in exchange for Mark Trumbo and C.J. Riefenhauser. They also acquired catcher Francisco Pena from the Royals for cash. The Orioles will likely lose Wei-Yin Chen to free agency, and as of yet they haven't done anything to improve their rotation though they're rumored to be interested in adding Yovani Gallardo, Mat Latos or Scott Kazmir. On the plus side, none of the teams in the AL East have a particularly strong rotation at the moment.
New York Yankees
As for the Yankees, they have gone all-in on trades this offseason. Brian Cashman kicked things off by trading John Ryan Murphy to the Twins for outfielder Aaron Hicks. He also traded Jose Pirela to the Padres for prospect Ronald Herrera. The biggest acquisition so far has been the Starlin Castro trade that sent Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan to the Cubs. The very next day, Cashman traded Justin Wilson to the Tigers for minor league pitchers Luis Cessa and Chad Green. There's still plenty of time for the Yankees to make additional improvements, like adding a few arms to the bullpen or rotation. After all, last year's acquisitions of David Carpenter, Chasen Shreve and Chris Martin all happened in January.
Which of the teams in the AL East do you think has done the most to improve so far?