There's been some action this MLB offseason in one of the toughest divisions in baseball: the AL East.
With the MLB offseason around its midway point, it's a good time to see where teams are at heading into 2023. Here are my thoughts on each team in the NL East.
Baltimore Orioles PG Score: 4/10
That’s right, Baltimore. A big fat 4 for you. Nobody really had many expectations for what Baltimore would do this offseason…until GM Mike Elias felt the need to come out publicly and state their desire to spend money, which he has not done to this point. Their biggest acquisition has been their new backup catcher, James McCann, who performed very poorly with the Mets in his tenure there. This move was not a bad one, as McCann will be a good mentor for this young staff and a young star in Adley Rutschman, but it does not change the fact that, aside from a few minor moves like bringing back relief pitcher Mychal Givens, the O’s spent next to nothing this offseason.
What move I would like for them to make? Any trade with the Miami Marlins. Even if it means dealing your prized possession in Cedric Mullins, the Orioles really need to bolster their starting pitching, and if they can pry an Edward Cabrera or Pablo Lopez from the Miami Marlins, this offseason could turn from a 4 to a 8 or above in a hurry.
The O’s offseason could have really been a special one, but with all the marquee free agents off the board, they are stuck in a place where they are going to have to pick up a couple of the scraps to make it semi-successful.
Boston Red Sox PG Score: 8.75/10
The Red Sox are the most confusing team in MLB. They made a bunch of moves that I personally like for a team that is contending. However, the Red Sox are not contending. With the additions of Masataka Yoshida, Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin, Justin Turner, Corey Kluber, and a few others, this team would likely be a wild-card contender in 2023, except they forgot about their star Shortstop, Xander Bogaerts, who they lost in a bidding war to the San Diego Padres, if you would like to call it that. They also lost DH JD Martinez and starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, meaning not much is left from the team that won it all less than 5 years ago. There seems to be no direction with this team, and Chaim Bloom’s job may rest on one contract's shoulders before entering the 2023-’24 offseason, if he can make it that long.
The Red Sox ultimately saved their offseason by learning from their mistakes with Xander Bogaerts and signing star 3B Rafael Devers to an 11 year, $331 million extension. It still doesn't fix the holes this lineup has, but it is a step in the right direction for a team that seemed to have no direction at all.
The Red Sox are still confusing, but making the choice to extend Devers gives the impression that they do have a direction for this team. The Red Sox lucked into a playoff run in 2021, and they expected an opportunity in 2022 for the same. With a little dose of reality, they now realize they are going to have to rebuild a strong young core to reopen the window that slammed shut on them after the 2018 season.
New York Yankees PG Score: 9/10
The Yankees managed to resign both Rizzo and Judge, while also adding Carlos Rodon to what was already arguably the best starting rotation in the AL East. So why not a perfect 10? I know Aaron Judge was their main target over this offseason. I know Aaron Judge is the reigning MVP and had arguably the best contract season in MLB history. However, the Bronx Bombers overpaid for their strongest bomber. In my own opinion, an 8-year deal with an AAV (Average Annual Value) of 35 million would be the max they should have paid for a 30 year old free agent.
What should they have done then? Let Judge make the choice. Take the 9 year deal for $360 million and be the hometown hero in San Fran, or sign an 8-year deal for 280, 300 max, and be the captain of the most storied team in all of sports, likely making him a lifetime Yankee. It is not the biggest change in the world, but that money could have been invested somewhere else in the lineup.
I believe the Giants dodged a bullet when Judge resigned with the Yankees, whose fans booed him throughout the 2022 playoffs. There could be a major fall-off with Judge is 2023 and this contract is going to be a major regret for the Yankees by 2026, in my opinion. But only time will tell.
Tampa Bay Rays PG Score: 7/10
The Tampa Bay Rays have had a pretty average offseason and stayed consistent to what they normally do: nothing. The Rays are known for not spending money, and letting Kevin Kiermaier walk is staying true to that trend. Their main focus this offseason should just be to get healthy, as they had an injury-riddled 2022, and they have enough talent on this roster to be a contender in 2023, even in one of the toughest divisions in baseball.
I would have loved to see them add a bat, like Jean Segura, who signed with the other Florida team. However, with a healthy Tyler Glasnow and the rise of Drew Rasmussen and Shane McClanahan, they may the best top-of-the-rotation in 2023.
Toronto Blue Jays PG Score: 9/10
The Blue Jays ultimately did what they set out to do this offseason, and that was to trade from their plethora of right-handed bats for some quality left-handed bats and good bullpen pieces. Flipping their top prospect, C Gabriel Moreno, and OF Lourdes Gurriel for OF/C Daulton Varsho was the blockbuster trade to this point in their offseason. They have a lot of depth at the catcher position, with the breakout of Alejandro Kirk in 2022, and way too many right-handed power bats in the outfield, so they flipped these two for an outstanding defender and quality left-handed bat in Daulton Varsho, who doubles as a third string catcher for this Blue Jays team.
To further prove their outfield depth, they flip power-hitting OF Teoscar Hernandez to the Seattle Mariners for Erik Swanson, who is a top 10 reliever in the league. They also signed free agent Kevin Kiermaier, who at his floor is a top 3 defender in center field for the Jays, and adds a contact bat to platoon in and face right-handed pitching.
The Blue Jays vastly improved in 2023 and have had a sneaky good offseason by ultimately addressed some of the things they should have addressed last year.