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Blue Jays: Keeping pace with the AL East offseason?

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While the off season has been relatively uneventful for the Blue Jays, they are not falling far behind the competition in the American League East

Talking about “winning” and “losing” the off season is an effort in futility. No one can predict how the season will unfold, and the eventful 2015 season should be enough proof of that. So while the Blue Jays haven’t made many moves in an off season that has just begun and still features a plethora of unsigned free agents, they have made strides at addressing the team’s needs. This has been overshadowed by bigger moves made by Boston and others, but looking around the American League East, the Blue Jays aren’t “losing” by any means.

First, let’s look at what the Blue Jays have done. They have traded for Jesse Chavez adding a capable swingman with true starter potential, brought J.A. Happ back and re-signed Marco Estrada to shore up the rotation. They have added some minor league depth and re-signed Darwin Barney giving the Jays needed infield depth with the injury to Devon Travis. These steps should not go unnoticed. While the staff does not possess a true ace, the Jays have reason to to feel confident in the upside their current staff presents. The Blue Jays definitely need more relief help, and could use another starting option, but have amply addressed many issues. They’ve also got plenty of time to work with.

Let’s take a quick look at what the division rivals have done…

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Boston Red Sox

Getting the obvious one out of the way first, the Red Sox have made significant strides. They signed David Price to a mega-deal, and acquired quality relief help in Craig Kimbrel, Roenis Elias, and Carson Smith. That said, the Red Sox have still not addressed many of the team’s issues, most namely the big contracts to Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. Both of them were supposed to contribute mightily for Boston, but the return they got was middling. The Red Sox have made the most strides in building a championship team, but they did similar things in 2015 and we all saw how that went. So yes, they are currently “winning” the off season, but that doesn’t always translate to actual baseball.

New York Yankees

The Evil Empire has been content staying mostly silent. They traded to get Starlin Castro to fill a hole at Second Base, then soon traded Justin Wilson to Detroit for Chad Green and Luis Cessa. The Yankees have a young core with great potential going forward, but the bulk of their 2016 rotation and offense are from veteran players. Their 2016 season will likely depend on how well players like Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, Alex Rodriguez and C.C Sabathia perform.

Given their age and contracts, it’s unlikely that the Yankee’s will be able to pawn them off on another team either. This forces them to fill their holes with their young talent. Additionally, to address their second base needs, they had to give away relief options. The Yankee’s will definitely add some help, but don’t expect them to get flashy with it like they have in the past

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Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore has been a puzzling one. They resigned Darren O’Day and brought in Mark Trumbo and Vance Worley, and yet it still looks like they have more to do. The Orioles have some of the more pronounced holes that need to be filled. A shaky rotation and gaps in the outfield will surely be addressed, but one has to wonder, knowing that slugger Chris Davis rejected as sweet a deal as he was offered. The Orioles have set themselves up as one of the more intriguing offseason teams. This offseason could still go very well, or very poorly for Baltimore.

Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay is the only AL East team to go into the offseason with relatively few moving pieces. They could use offensive pop, but have a plethora of quality starters and relievers that could help them land solid trade options. Tampa Bay possess the depth to trade for strong bats to compliment a quality rotation and even stronger relief core.

With many young players coming down the pipeline, the Rays should have no trouble addressing their needs. They have already dealt away one such arm to land Brad Miller and Logan Morrison. Both of whom add extra depth and potentially powerful bats now that they are out of the confines of Seattle. It should be expected that the Rays make more moves like this.

Next: State of the Blue Jays Bullpen

Naturally, the Red Sox look the scariest in the league right now, but the rest of the division is in various states of filling holes. The moves that Toronto made early in the off season may seem minor now, but the relative lack of activity from the rest of the division should be noted as well. The Jays may not be “winning” the offseason so far, but they are keeping pace with the rest of their division just fine and have months to go.

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