One can bet that teams from the American League East will be active during the Winter Meetings, which start Sunday in San Diego. From the top of the division to the bottom, every team needs something. With that in mind, here are the biggest needs for each AL East team.
Blue Jays: Veteran starting pitching
The Blue Jays will not look to break the bank and sign a pitcher like Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg, but they might look at the next tier of free agents. Zack Wheeler signed with the Philllies on Monday, but Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dallas Keuchel remain available. Ryu was in the top three in the National League Cy Young Award voting, and one can see why. He led the Major Leagues with a 2.32 ERA, won 14 games and had a 5.3 WAR.
Orioles: Pitching, middle infielders
The Orioles on Monday parted ways with Jonathan Villar, their most productive player in 2019, and they are planning for shortstop Richie Martin to begin the season in Triple-A, which leaves Hanser Alberto and Pat Valaika as the only middle infielders on their roster. The O's really need prospects, but they need to take care of the MLB roster when they get to San Diego for the Winter Meetings.
The team received unexpected production from Travis d'Arnaud, who hit 16 home runs and drove in 67 runs in 92 games last season. But d'Arnaud became a free agent and signed with the Braves. So, the Rays are looking for a catcher, and productive ones are hard to come by. The best free-agent backstop -- Yasmani Grandal -- signed a deal with the White Sox.
Will Mike Zunino, who was with the Rays last season, be the starting catcher in 2020? The Rays re-signed him to a one-year deal counting on an offensive rebound, but that remains to be seen. He drove in just 32 runs while hitting .165 in 90 games in 2019. We'll see what happens at the Winter Meetings.
Red Sox: Starting pitching
The Red Sox need to create much better depth in the starting rotation, particularly given the health issues that Chris Sale, David Price and Nathan Eovaldi had this past season. They don’t want to spend a lot of money, given ownership’s goal of getting below the luxury-tax threshold of $208 million. Look for Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom to get creative in the search for starting pitching, maybe finding some arms who would be ideal for the opener concept. Since the season ended, there has been talk of trading Mookie Betts for pitching. At the same time, Boston is not in a rush to deal its best player.
Yankees: An ace
Going into the Winter Meetings, the Yankees have a few question marks when it comes to their starting rotation. They still don’t know how long Domingo Germán, under MLB investigation for alleged domestic violence, will be suspended. Will Masahiro Tanaka recover from right elbow surgery? The Yankees are still looking for the same J.A. Happ they gave an extension to after the 2018 season.
Don’t look for the Yankees to stand pat on their current rotation. According to MLB.com sources, the Yankees are in the Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg sweepstakes. In fact, the Yankees had a meeting with Cole on Tuesday and plan to talk to Strasburg on Wednesday. The question is, will the Yankees to go all in to sign with those high-profile aces? The Yankees selected Cole in the first round of the 2008 MLB Draft out of high school, but he chose to attend UCLA instead. Cole could be the more likely option, as there are reports saying that the Nationals may be the front-runners to re-sign Strasburg.