A team-by-team look at the American League East entering spring training, including key players each club acquired and lost, and dates of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and the full squad:
Boston Red Sox
Manager: John Farrell (second season).
2013: 97-65, first place, World Series champions.
Training Town: Fort Myers, Fla.
Park: JetBlue Park.
First Workout: Feb. 15/18.
He's Here: C A.J. Pierzynski, OF Grady Sizemore, RHP Edward Mujica, IF Jonathan Herrera.
He's Outta Here: CF Jacoby Ellsbury, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, SS Stephen Drew, LHP Franklin Morales, RHP Andrew Bailey, RHP Joel Hanrahan.
Going campin': The Red Sox won the World Series title for the third time in 10 years and one year after going 69-93. In the offseason, they continued their strategy of signing mid-level free agents to short-term contracts that worked so well the previous year. They let Ellsbury sign with the New York Yankees for seven years and Saltalamacchia join the Miami Marlins on a three-year deal. They made few roster additions, adding Pierzynski, Sizemore, Mujica and Herrera. The pitching staff has great depth among starters with six returning veterans, led by Jon Lester, and talented young prospects. The bullpen is solid with closer Koji Uehara and setup men Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow all returning. The positive karma that replaced a dysfunctional clubhouse should continue under the steady hand of Farrell, who took over when Bobby Valentine was fired after the 2012 season, and with David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Jonny Gomes. Look for a breakout year for two youngsters — SS/3B Xander Bogaerts and CF Jackie Bradley Jr.
Tampa Bay Rays
Manager: Joe Maddon (ninth season).
2013: 92-71, 2nd place, lost to Boston in division series.
Training Town: Port Charlotte, Fla.
Park: Charlotte Sports Park.
First Workout: Feb. 15/20.
He's Here: C Ryan Hanigan, RHP Grant Balfour, RHP Heath Bell, RHP Brad Boxberger, INF Logan Forsythe, RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo, INF Jayson Nix, INF Ray Olmedo, INF Wilson Betemit.
He's Outta Here: RHP Fernando Rodney, DH Luke Scott, OF Kelly Johnson, DH Delmon Young, OF Sam Fuld, INF Ryan Roberts, RHP Roberto Hernandez, RHP Jamey Wright, LHP Alex Torres.
Going campin': The Rays enter spring training with a projected payroll of nearly $80 million, which would be a franchise record and also speaks to expectations for 2014. Principal owner Stuart Sternberg spent generously — at least by Tampa Bay standards — to ensure most of the key components of a team that won 92 games and made the playoffs for the fourth time in six seasons remained together. That includes not trading 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner David Price and instead giving him a $14 million, one-year contract; re-signing first baseman James Loney; picking up options on infielders Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar; trading for Hanigan, Bell and Forsythe, and signing Balfour, the closer, in free agency. With Price anchoring one of the strongest starting rotations in baseball and Evan Longoria and 2013 AL rookie of the year Wil Myers providing a powerful one-two punch in the middle of the batting order, the Rays not only expect to contend the AL East title but feel they have what it takes to win the World Series.
Manager: Buck Showalter (fifth season).
2013: 85-77, tied for third place.
Training Town: Sarasota, Fla.
Park: Ed Smith Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 14/19.
He's Here: RHP Ryan Webb, INF Jemile Weeks, OF David Lough, OF Francisco Peguero, OF Delmon Young, OF Xavier Gray, RHP Edgmer Escalona, SS Alex Gonzalez, RHP Alfredo Aceves.
He's Outta Here: RHP Jim Johnson, 2B Brian Roberts, LF Nate McLouth, RHP Jason Hammel, DH Wilson Betemit, RHP Scott Feldman, OF Michael Morse, C Taylor Teagarden, DH Danny Valencia, RHP Francisco Rodriguez.
Going campin': The Orioles have plenty of questions to be answered before opening day, most notably: Who will be the closer? VP Dan Duquette traded away Jim Johnson to cut salary, and after Grant Balfour failed his physical, the team was left without a clear-cut replacement. Sorting that out, determining a starting rotation without an apparent ace, choosing successors to McLouth in left field and Roberts at second base will keep Showlater busy throughout spring training. Showalter led Baltimore into the playoffs in 2012 and milked 85 wins out of the team last year, but keeping the Orioles competitive in the AL East will be a difficult task with a squad whose payroll pales to that of Boston and the Yankees.
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