How Yankees stack up against AL East foes as DJ LeMahieu chase continues
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The Yankees offseason is still centered around whether DJ LeMahieu signs to stay in The Bronx or heads elsewhere.
Until then, general manager Brian Cashman has made it clear he doesn’t expect to do much, since much of their budget is tied to LeMahieu’s future. If LeMahieu stays, they’ll be limited in what else they can add. But should LeMahieu leave, more changes could be in store, from moving Gleyber Torres back to second base, to more starting pitchers and a shortstop.
But the Yankees aren’t the only team in the AL East that seems to be in a holding pattern. Like the rest of the sport, their four divisional foes have moved slowly and mostly look quite similar to how they were put together at the end of the season, with some exceptions, like Alex Cora returning to manage the Red Sox.
Here’s how the Yankees stack up against the rest of the AL East:
Tampa Bay Rays
The AL East champions reached the World Series, but they’ve already seen the impact of their tight budget next season, with Charlie Morton leaving Tampa Bay for Atlanta, where the right-hander signed a one-year, $15 million deal. Blake Snell could also wind up being moved in a trade, but for now, he remains with the Rays, with three years and $39 million remaining on his contract.
The team added Michael Wacha for one year and $3 million after a rocky season with the Mets and resigned catcher Mike Zunino to a one-year deal worth at least $3 million with a team option for 2022. The Rays also shipped Nate Lowe to Texas in exchange for prospects. Hunter Renfroe signed with the Red Sox.
Toronto Blue Jays
Lots of eyes are on the Blue Jays, who seem to be at least interested in just about every high-priced free agent on the market, including LeMahieu.
Bo Bichette said he hoped LeMahieu would come to Toronto, and the team is also interested in potential Mets targets George Springer and right-handers Jake Odorizzi and Tomoyuki Sugano. They’ve also been tied to Trevor Bauer and catcher J.T. Realmuto, as well as right-hander Liam Hendriks and outfielder Marcell Ozuna. They’ve also reportedly been in contact with shortstop Andrelton Simmons, third baseman Justin Turner and free agent infielder Ha-Seong Kim, who is 25 and played for the last seven seasons in the Korea Baseball Organization.
For all the talk, Toronto has so far only re-signed Robbie Ray for one year and $8 million.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are doing their best to try to erase a miserable 2020 season, which saw them lose Cora in the dugout due to his role in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal when he was Houston’s bench coach. Last offseason also saw the Red Sox trade Mookie Betts to the Dodgers — who then won the World Series — and finish in last place. Now, Cora is back. They’ve signed Renfroe away from Tampa Bay and haven’t ruled out keeping Jackie Bradley Jr. in center. They are also in on Sugano, Odorizzi, Corey Kluber and Rich Hill to bolster a rotation that was hit hard by injuries last year. Chris Sale should return from Tommy John surgery and Eduardo Rodriguez will be back after missing last year due to COVID-19 and myocarditis.
Ex-Yankee J.A. Happ could also be a fit and Boston also picked up right-hander Garrett Whitlock from the Yankees in the Rule 5 draft.
The Orioles already sent shortstop Jose Iglesias to the Angels in exchange for prospects and might trade other players who have decent-sized contracts, like Alex Cobb — although the right-hander may stay through the offseason. General manager Mike Elias indicated Baltimore is unlikely to sign anyone to a multiyear deal, as the Orioles gear up for what will likely be another ugly season.
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