AL East teams at the start of spring training
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:
Manager: Buck Showalter (fifth full season).
2013: 96-66, first place, lost to Royals in ALCS.
Training Town: Sarasota, Florida.
Park: Ed Smith Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 20/25.
He’s Here: OF Travis Snider, C J.P. Arencibia, RHP Eddie Gamboa, LHP Cesar Cabral.
He’s Outta Here: OF Nelson Cruz, RF Nick Markakis, LHP Andrew Miller, C Nick Hundley, INF Steve Lombardozzi, 2B Jemile Weeks, OF Quintin Berry.
Going campin’: The Orioles, who didn’t add much to a team that won the AL East for the first time since 1997, hope the return of injured stars Matt Wieters and Manny Machado will make up for the loss of Markakis and Cruz. The Orioles will carefully monitor third baseman Machado, who claims to be 100 percent following knee surgery. The most significant competition during spring training will be between those players seeking to fill out the outfield. One big question: Can left field Alejandro De Aza replace Markakis at the top of the lineup? The rotation appears set, although 2014 disappointment Ubaldo Jimenez hopes to pitch well enough to squeeze his name onto the list. First baseman Chris Davis, whose 25-game amphetamine suspension ends after opening day, will work hard this spring to regain the form he showed in 2013 before sliding into a lengthy funk last year.
New York Yankees
Manager: Joe Girardi (eighth season).
2014: 84-78, second place.
Training Town: Tampa, Florida.
Park: George M. Steinbrenner Field.
First Workout: Feb. 21/26.
He’s Here: LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Scott Baker, DH-1B-OF Garrett Jones, RHP Nathan Eovaldi, RHP Chris Martin, INF-OF Martin Prado, RHP David Phelps, LHP Justin Wilson, SS Didi Gregorius.
He’s Outta Here: SS Derek Jeter, RHP David Robertson, RHP Hiroki Kuroda, OF Ichiro Suzuki, RHP Shawn Kelley, C Francisco Cervelli, RHP Shane Greene.
Going campin’: Now that Jeter has retired, who becomes the face of the Yankees? Will it be ... A-Rod? Alex Rodriguez returns after his yearlong MLB suspension and turns 40 in July. No telling how much he has left. After making the playoffs in 17 of 18 seasons, New York has been absent the last two years. To get deep into October, they need Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira and others to bounce back from injuries and Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner to put up better numbers. Plus, New York must pick a closer with Robertson gone — it could be Dellin Betances, who dominated for much of last summer, or newcomer Miller. Smooth-fielding Gregorius, acquired from Arizona, gets the first shot at succeeding Jeter. This will be the Yankees’ first season since 1995 minus the Captain — they’ll fill his spot at shortstop, they’ll miss him much more in the clubhouse.
Toronto Blue Jays
Manager: John Gibbons (third season).
2014: 83-79, third place.
Training Town: Dunedin, Florida.
Park: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 23/27.
He’s Here: 3B Josh Donaldson, RHP Marco Estrada, RHP Liam Hendriks, C Russell Martin, LHP Juan Oramas, OF Michael Saunders, RHP Bo Schultz, 1B Justin Smoak, 2B Devon Travis, RHP Matt West.
He’s Outta Here: OF Melky Cabrera, INF Juan Francisco, RHP Kendall Graveman, OF Anthony Gose, LHP J.A. Happ, RHP Casey Janssen, 3B Brett Lawrie, 1B Adam Lind, RHP Brandon Morrow, LHP Sean Nolin, OF Colby Rasmus, RHP Sergio Santos.
Going campin’: By adding All-Star third baseman Donaldson and Martin to a lineup that already boasts shortstop Jose Reyes and sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, the Blue Jays feel confident their batting order will be among baseball’s best. That’s just as well, because plenty of question marks remain in Toronto, whose 21-year playoff drought is the longest in the majors. A bullpen that struggled in 2014 had more departures than additions this winter, leaving 22-year-old Aaron Sanchez (three saves, 1.09 ERA in 24 games) the most likely candidate to replace Janssen as closer. The Blue Jays used seven players at second base last year, and still don’t have a long-term solution at the position. The outfield will look different after Cabrera and Rasmus both found new homes via free agency. Saunders, acquired from Seattle, will take Cabrera’s spot in left, while the Blue Jays hope to find success in center by platooning Kevin Pillar and Dalton Pompey, who rose all the way from Class A to the majors last year. Marcus Stroman excelled as a rookie in 2014, going 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA. He’s backed by workhorses R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle, as well as righty Drew Hutchison, but there’s a glaring lack of rotation depth behind them.
Tampa Bay Rays
Manager: Kevin Cash (first season).
2014: 77-85, fourth place.
Training Town: Port Charlotte, Florida.
Park: Charlotte Sports Park.
First Workout: Feb. 23/28.
He’s Here: INF Asdrubal Cabera, C Rene Rivera, RHP Kevin Jepsen, RHP Ernesto Frieri, C-DH John Jaso, OF Steven Souza Jr., RHP Burch Smith.
He’s Outta Here: Manager Joe Maddon, executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, OF Wil Myers, INF-OF Ben Zobrist, SS Yunel Escobar, C Ryan Hanigan, OF Matt Joyce, RHP Jeremy Hellickson, C Jose Molina, LHP Cesar Ramos, RHP Joel Peralta, INF-OF Sean Rodriguez.
Going campin’: No American League team has undergone as much change as the budget-minded Rays, who lost Maddon and Friedman before performing a massive overhaul of the roster this winter. Just four players from last year’s opening-day lineup — Evan Longoria, James Loney, David DeJesus and Desmond Jennings — remain in the organization. Former team president Matt Silverman has taken over Friedman’s duties and has shown he’s not afraid to take risks. He hired the 37-year-old Cash, who has no previous managerial experience, as Maddon’s replacement. He’s also reshaped the roster in the wake of finishing with a losing record for first time since 2007, putting together seven trades that sent a total of nine players packing, including Myers, 2013 Rookie of the Year, and Zobrist, the three-time All-Star. What’s largely the same is the club’s strongest asset, starting pitching. Despite dealing ace David Price at last season’s trade deadline, the Rays enter 2015 with Alex Cobb, Chris Archer, Drew Smyly and Jake Odorizzi penciled into a rotation that figures to be even better when Matt Moore returns from elbow surgery this summer.
Boston Red Sox
Manager: John Farrell (third season).
2013: 71-91, fifth place.
Training Town: Fort Myers, Florida.
Park: JetBlue Park.
First Workout: Feb. 21/25.
He’s Here: 3B Pablo Sandoval, OF Hanley Ramirez, LHP Wade Miley, RHP Rick Porcello, RHP Justin Masterson, C Ryan Hanigan.
He’s Outta Here: LHP Jon Lester, OF Yoenis Cespedes, 3B Will Middlebrooks, C David Ross.
Goin’ camping: Last place in 2012. World Series in 2013. Last place in 2014. Can the Red Sox ride the roller coaster again this season and go from worst to first a second time? The club signed Sandoval as its big offseason splash, and added former Boston farmhand Ramirez, too. But it didn’t bring back Lester and didn’t compete for the big names on the pitching market such as Max Scherzer and James Shields. The rotation of Clay Buchholz, Porcello, Miley, right-hander Joe Kelly and perhaps Masterson lacks an ace. The bullpen is anchored by Koji Uehara, who will be 40 by opening day and showed signs of aging last year. David Ortiz is 39, the outfield is crowded with question marks and at catcher the Red Sox are relying on Christian Vazquez, who impressed defensively but batted .240, and Hanigan, who has played eight years in the majors, mostly as a backup.