The American League East has been a formidable division for the past several seasons, with every team currently trying to extend their competitive window for both now and the future. Despite having the best winning percentage of all divisions (.554), the AL East combined for zero playoff wins in 2023, showing that all five teams need some work in order to get ahead, rather than fall further behind. After the Jays missed out on Shohei Ohtani and Juan Soto, they managed to add backup pieces in Kevin Kiermaier, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Both are useful players to have on a roster, but not the big fish that the Blue Jays currently need to send them to a higher tier. The other 4 teams in the division have also been addressing needs to improve next season, but is it enough?
The Orioles shocked the baseball world, by winning a staggering 101 games last season, leading them to a division title, and their first playoff berth since 2016. Despite the heroics, the Orioles fell short to the inevitable World Series champs, the Texas Rangers. Baltimore is still on the rise, ranking 29th in the league in payroll, and an incredibly young core to go with it. Many had believed this would be the season the Orioles begin to go for it further by investing further in in the team. So far, the birds have only signed Craig Kimbrel to a one-year, $13M deal, with an opt out for 2025. Kimbrel is no longer his most dominant self, but has still shown capabilities of being a quality reliever pitching to a 132 ERA+ last year in 69 innings pitched.
With Felix Bautista being out for most of next season, it was smart to add some more insurance for the backend of the their bullpen. The rotation still feels questionable, and the Orioles have already missed out on some key pitching targets in this years class. There have been rumors that the Orioles could deal some of their prospects from their top farm system for a name like Dylan Cease, which could entirely change the complexion of their team. The Orioles will need that front end starter next year, or 2024 could have a similar end to 2023.