Team needs: American League East
The conclusion of our team-needs series arrives the day after a blockbuster trade was agreed upon. And wouldn't you know it, what appears to be the winner of the deal resides in the one division we've yet to profile. Let's check out those Blue Jays and the four other American League East teams.
|Swisher's name will be prominent in AL East rumors this offseason. (US Presswire)|
The conclusion of our team-needs series arrives the day after a blockbuster trade. And wouldn't you know it, what appears to be the winner of the deal resides in the one division we've yet to profile. Let's check out those Blue Jays and the four other American League East teams:
New York Yankees
It's the Yankees, so they're older and higher-priced. But they're also the defending division champions once again. They also enter this offseason with several big-name free agents: Rafael Soriano , Mariano Rivera , Nick Swisher , Russell Martin , Hiroki Kuroda , Andy Pettitte and Raul Ibanez , to name several. So while we can't assume the Yankees' free-spending ways of years past will resurface, the club still figures to be pretty active.
Biggest needs: A starting outfielder, starting pitching, bench depth and starting catcher.
Possible free agency targets: Soriano, Rivera, Martin, Kuroda, Pettitte, Ibanez, Josh Hamilton , Scott Hairston , Jonny Gomes , Brandon McCarthy , Ryan Dempster , Shaun Marcum , Jeff Keppinger , Mike Napoli , A.J. Pierzynski .
Possible trade targets: Shin-Soo Choo ? The Yankees don't have a ton of minor-league depth to deal.
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The Orioles defied the odds (and some would say logic) by making the playoffs on the strength of going 29-9 in one-run games and 16-2 in extra innings. Through the course of the season, much with the roster was sorted out, but there's still minor sorting to be done, especially with Mark Reynolds ' status up in the air after having his club option declined. One item to note is the Orioles have some -- albeit not a ton of -- pitching depth, so if they are inclined to trade, that's a start.
Biggest needs: First base, left field and reportedly DH.
Possible free agency targets: Reynolds, Adam LaRoche , Jonny Gomes, Nick Swisher, Nate McLouth , Cody Ross , Scott Hairston, Jim Thome , Travis Hafner .
Possible trade targets: Josh Willingham , Billy Butler .
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are coming off a very good season in which they narrowly missed the playoffs. The culprit: A lack of offense. Even if Evan Longoria stays healthy all season, the Rays need more offense, especially with Melvin Upton out the door. Some reports have indicated every starting pitcher is available on the trade market except David Price , though the Rays would surely have to be bowled over to give up Matt Moore . James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson would be the most likely to go, in that order.
Biggest needs: Offensive upgrades in several spots.
Possible free agency targets: A.J. Pierzynski, Jeff Keppinger, Melky Cabrera , Grady Sizemore , Travis Hafner, Kelly Johnson , James Loney , Carlos Pena , Casey Kotchman , Jason Bay .
Possible trade targets: Justin Upton , Shin-Soo Choo, Billy Butler, Alex Gordon , Andre Ethier , Wil Myers, Mike Olt , Alfonso Soriano .
Toronto Blue Jays
Well, the timing here makes this easy because the Jays just took care of a few needs in one fell swoop. What a deal. They won't have much payroll flexibility this offseason now after the deal, but they do need a manager. The job looks a lot more attractive now, eh?
Biggest needs: More pitching depth couldn't hurt, considering the injury issues last season.
Possible free agency targets: Scott Feldman , Mike Gonzalez .
Possible trade targets: My guess is they're done dealing, aside for very minor tweaks. Moving J.P. Arencibia to clear the way for Travis d'Arnaud could land a pitcher in return.
Boston Red Sox
Last season was one to forget for the Red Sox, but at least Bobby Valentine is gone. There are holes all over the place now after the roster was partially blown up last season. After having brought back David Ortiz , the Red Sox do have an nice offensive nucleus of Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia , Jacoby Ellsbury and Will Middlebrooks . I expect a ton of activity from Boston this offseason, maybe more than any other team.
Biggest needs: First base, shortstop (unless they want to survive with no offense from Jose Iglesias ), pitching and a corner outfielder.
Possible free agency targets: Mike Napoli, Adam LaRoche, Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn , Josh Hamilton, Cody Ross, Shane Victorino , Anibal Sanchez , Hiroki Kuroda, Ryan Dempster, Joakim Soria , Ryan Madson , Kyuji Fujikawa (Japanese closer).
Possible trade targets: Andre Ethier, Justin Upton, Shin-Soo Choo, Josh Willingham, Gavin Floyd , Justin Masterson .