This was a tough one to predict, with the AL East being a log jam toward the top. The jays won the trade deadline last season which set up for their success through August and September. But the off season saw the Yankees as the big winner which will set up their success for the 2016 season.
New York Yankees
2015 Record: 87-75 (Finished 2nd, Lost in Wild Card round)
Offseason: Acquired Aroldis Chapman and Starlin Castro. Lost Chase Whitley, Chris Young, John Ryan Murphy, Stephen Drew, Adam Warren
W2W4: In 2015 the Yankees finally made it through without many injuries coming on the offensive side of the ball, it was more so the starting pitching. Manager Joe Girardi has shown that he can handle who to use and when to use certain guys from the bullpen. This offseason the team bolstered it’s infield with the addition of Starlin Castro to lock up the revolving door that was second base. Aside from Castro, the Yankees added Aroldis Chapman to an already scary back half of the bullpen to lock down innings seven through nine. If they can remain healthy on both the offense and defensive side of the ball, don’t expect another late season collapse from the bombers.
Toronto Blue Jays
2015 Record: 93-69 (Finished 1st, Lost in Division Series)
Offseason: Resigned Mark Buehrle, J.A. Happ, Maicer Izturis. Lost Ben Revere, David Price, Dioner Navarro.
W2W4: Not many teams in baseball were playing better after the All-Star break than the Toronto Blue Jays. This push allowed the Jays to win the AL East for the first time in 14 years. It won’t be the last time the jays get into the postseason for awhile. Look for them to be a Wild Card team in 2016. Even with losing a pitcher like David Price, the Jays have enough talent on the roster to make a run at October baseball.
2015 Record: 81-81 (Finished 3rd)
Offseason: Acquired Mark Trumbo. Resigned Darren O’Day, Matt Weiters, and Chris “Crush” Davis. Lost Wei-Yin Chen.
W2W4: A giant sigh of relief was heard from all of Baltimore when the word was out that Chris Davis and Matt Weiters will be returning to the ball club. Even though the O’s finished the 2015 season at .500 they were right in the thick of things leading up to the end of September. The acquisition of Mark Trumbo is going to cause problems for opposing teams when the middle of the order comes up. The only question for them is if their pitching can consistently pitch good enough to help them win games. Expect the O’s to be in the talk for the WC and Division crown all season, but they won’t be able to keep up with Toronto or NY down the stretch when it counts.
Boston Red Sox
2015 Record: 78-84 (Finished 5th)
Offseason: Acquired David Price, Craig Kimbrel, Chris Young, Brennan Boesch.
W2W4: 2015 was one of the most disappointing years in recent memory for the Red Sox. This offseason the Sox won the David Price sweepstakes and signed the big named pitcher to a long term deal. They also traded for Craig Kimbrel to help solidify a trouble area on the roster. Really the third spot in the East can be interchangeable between Boston and Baltimore. It’s hard to see the Red Sox being a bottom dweller team back to back seasons. If they can figure things out on the offensive side of the ball, they’ll be in Wild Card talks.
Tampa Bay Rays
2015 Record: 80-82 (Finished 4th)
Offseason: Acquired Logan Morrison, Chase Whitley, and Corey Dickerson. Lost J.P. Arencibia, Asdrubal Cabrera, Grady Sizemore.
W2W4: With the East becoming extremely competitive once more, the Rays find themselves falling further back. The successes they saw as a ball club just a few years ago are slightly more out of reach now. That’s not to say they can’t get back to that point, but more moves will need to be made throughout the season if they wish to be in talks for even a Wild Card spot. That being said they will still be a scrappy team, and one that could sneak up on the other clubs in their division. Look for the Rays to play spoiler this season as they will ruin someone’s hopes at either the division crown or a Wild Card spot.