Offseason grades: Everything you need to know about the AL East

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Welcome to theScore's MLB offseason grades, in which we look at where each team stands heading into the 2022 season. Payroll is calculated by AAV for competitive balance tax purposes. Record projections courtesy FanGraphs.


Baltimore Orioles

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Projected 2022 record: 63-99
Projected 40-man payroll: $62M
Key departures: Fernando Abad (Mexico), Maikel Franco (WSH), Matt Harvey (FA), Tanner Scott (MIA), Pedro Severino (MIL), Cole Sulser (MIA)
Key additions: Robinson Chirinos, Shed Long Jr., Jordan Lyles, Jacob Nottingham, Rougned Odor, Chris Owings
Injuries: Adley Rutschman
Grade: D

Projected lineup

1 Cedric Mullins (L) CF 27
2 Ryan Mountcastle 1B 25
3 Anthony Santander (S) RF 27
4 Trey Mancini DH 30
5 Austin Hays LF 26
6 Rougned Odor (L) 2B 28
7 Ramon Urias SS 28
8 Robinson Chirinos C 38
9 Kelvin Gutierrez 3B 27

The front office continues to show no interest in signing a position player to a multi-year deal. The top of the Orioles' lineup is surprisingly solid and led by breakout star Mullins. Santander is healthy again, adding another 20-plus homer bat. There are nice pieces here, though rather than compliment this lineup, the club remains committed to slogging through a long rebuild. Signing Carlos Correa always seemed far-fetched, but at some point, ownership is going to need to commit resources to land an established star to build around. Rutschman will be the biggest addition; MLB's top prospect is expected to make his much-anticipated debut at some point and will give the club a glimpse of what it hopes will be its next future star.

Projected rotation

1 John Means L 29
2 Jordan Lyles R 31
3 Bruce Zimmermann L 27
4 Tyler Wells R 27
5 Keegan Akin L 27

With so many roster spots committed to young and inexperienced pitchers, it's going to be another long year on the mound. Lyles' addition won't help a staff that ranked last in the majors in ERA, WHIP, and opponent batting average in 2021. Moving the left-field wall back should help make Camden Yards a bit more pitcher-friendly, but this group is still expected to give up plenty of runs. Means is easily the best starter, though his days in Baltimore could be numbered. Set to enter his age-29 season, Means is already first-year arbitration-eligible, and it's likely the front office considers a trade in order to further deepen the budding farm system.​​​​​​

Boston Red Sox

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Projected 2022 record: 86-76
Projected 40-man payroll: $235.8M
Key departures: Jose Iglesias (COL), Adam Ottavino (NYM), Martin Perez (TEX), Hunter Renfroe (MIL), Garrett Richards (TEX), Eduardo Rodriguez (DET), Danny Santana (FA), Kyle Schwarber (PHI)
Key additions: Jackie Bradley Jr., Jake Diekman, Rich Hill, Derek Holland, James Paxton, Matt Strahm, Trevor Story, Michael Wacha
Injuries: James Paxton, Chris Sale, Josh Taylor
Grade: B+

Projected lineup

1 Enrique Hernandez CF 30
2 Rafael Devers (L) 3B 25
3 Xander Bogaerts SS 29
4 J.D. Martinez DH 34
5 Alex Verdugo (L) LF 26
6 Trevor Story 2B 29
7 Bobby Dalbec 1B 27
8 Jackie Bradley Jr. (L) RF 32
9 Christian Vazquez C 31

The Red Sox return almost their entire lineup, which finished third in OPS and fifth in runs scored last season. Story's addition is significant, and gives the club an everyday second baseman after years of trying to replace Dustin Pedroia. Story not only improves the club defensively - a significant need going into the winter - but makes the team more athletic. Story also gives them cover long term at shortstop should Bogaerts opt out at the end of the season. Boston still feels like it's missing a right-handed hitting outfielder. Chaim Bloom has a team capable of competing for a playoff spot in 2022, though he must also keep an eye on the future. Bogaerts (opt out), Martinez, Vazquez, Hernandez, and Bradley are all entering the final year of their deals.

Projected rotation

1 Nathan Eovaldi R 32
2 Nick Pivetta R 29
3 Tanner Houck R 26
4 Michael Wacha R 31
5 Rich Hill L 42

Boston prioritized quantity over quality, and while its depth has improved, the rotation looks underwhelming on paper - especially with Sale expected to miss the first two months of the season. Eovaldi is coming off a career year in which he finished fourth in AL Cy Young voting and established himself as a legitimate ace. While the rotation likely won't be the club's strength, it should be good enough to keep Boston competitive. Pivetta having a breakout year would push the team a long way. The bullpen has improved, though the club lacks a closer if Matt Barnes can't bounce back after a rough second half of last season.

New York Yankees

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Projected 2022 record: 91-71
Projected 40-man payroll: $254M
Key departures: Albert Abreu (TEX), Clint Frazier (CHC), Brett Gardner (FA), Andrew Heaney (LAD), Corey Kluber (TB), Darren O'Day (ATL), Rougned Odor (BAL), Joely Rodriguez (NYM), Gary Sanchez (MIN), Gio Urshela (MIN)
Key additions: Greg Bird, Miguel Castro, Josh Donaldson, Marwin Gonzalez, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Tim Locastro, Ben Rortvedt, Jose Trevino
Injuries: Zack Britton, Domingo German, Rortvedt
Grade: C+

Projected lineup

1 Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B 32
2 Aaron Judge RF 30
3 Joey Gallo (L) LF 28
4 Giancarlo Stanton DH 32
5 Josh Donaldson 3B 36
6 Gleyber Torres 2B 25
7 Aaron Hicks (S) CF 32
8 Isiah Kiner-Falefa SS 27
9 Kyle Higashioka C 32

The Yankees were expected to take a run at one of the premier free-agent shortstops, but instead opted to take on the bulk of Donaldson's contract in order to land Kiner-Falefa. It was a curious move, but could pay off should Donaldson remain healthy - something that has been a challenge in recent years. New York hit the third-most homers in the AL last season but finished 10th in runs scored, somehow behind Cleveland. Everyone outside of Judge and Stanton struggled, though there is reason to be optimistic about the group. Torres was excellent after moving off shortstop late last year. Gallo should benefit from a full season in New York. Hicks is slated to return after missing all but 32 games in 2021. Rizzo's re-signing gives them more balance. This group should score runs, but this isn't the most mobile group, likely meaning they will be dependant on the long ball.

Projected rotation

1 Gerrit Cole R 31
2 Jordan Montgomery L 29
3 Luis Severino R 28
4 Nestor Cortes L 27
5 Jameson Taillon R 30

Cole was New York's only starter to throw more than 158 innings last year, and the club enters the season with plenty of questions surrounding the durability of its rotation. Severino's return from Tommy John will provide a major boost, though his workload could be managed carefully. Taillon and Montgomery each have top-of-the-rotation ability but need to remain healthy. Even with Cortes' surprise emergence last season, the Yankees would've benefited from adding another veteran starter.

Tampa Bay Rays

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Projected 2022 record: 86-76
Projected 40-man payroll: $110M
Key departures: Chris Archer (MIN), Nelson Cruz (WSH), Tommy Hunter (FA), Jordan Luplow (ARI), Collin McHugh (ATL), Austin Meadows (DET), David Robertson (CHC), Chaz Roe (FA), Michael Wacha (BOS), Joey Wendle (MIA)
Key additions: Corey Kluber, Brooks Raley, Harold Ramirez
Injuries: Nick Anderson, Shane Baz, Yonny Chirinos, Pete Fairbanks, Tyler Glasnow, Brendan McKay
Grade: B

Projected lineup

1 Brandon Lowe (L) 2B 27
2 Randy Arozarena DH 27
3 Wander Franco (S) SS 21
4 Ji-Man Choi (L) 1B 31
5 Yandy Diaz 3B 30
6 Kevin Kiermaier (L) CF 32
7 Manuel Margot RF 27
8 Mike Zunino C 31
9 Josh Lowe (L) RF 24

Ownership deserves major credit for signing Franco to a long-term deal. The Rays scored the second-most runs in the AL last season, relying heavily on the long ball, so they didn't exactly need to make a major move. Brandon Lowe (39 homers) and Zunino (33) each mashed career highs. Arozarena landed Rookie of the Year honors following a 20-20 campaign. Moving Meadows looks odd on the surface, but the team created a spot for talented rookie Josh Lowe. And haven't we learned to stop questioning the Rays?

Projected rotation

1 Shane McClanahan L 25
2 Drew Rasmussen R 26
3 Ryan Yarbrough L 30
4 Corey Kluber R 36
5 Luis Patino R 22

Tampa will likely be without ace Glasnow for the entire season, though a number of other key arms are expected to return from injury. The young core of McClanahan, Rasmussen, and Patio is talented but inexperienced. Should the three pitch to their potential, expect the Rays to once again boast one of the league's best rotations. The addition of Kluber is low-risk; the two-time Cy Young winner was solid with the Yankees last season, though injuries limited him to just 16 starts. The bullpen looks elite, even with Fairbanks and Anderson opening on the IL.

Toronto Blue Jays

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Projected 2022 record: 92-70
Projected 40-man payroll: $185.6M
Key departues: Corey Dickerson (STL), Jarrod Dyson (FA), Randal Grichuk (COL), Steven Matz (STL), Reese McGuire (CWS), Robbie Ray (SEA), Marcus Semien (TEX), Joakim Soria (Retired), Kirby Yates (ATL)
Key additions: Matt Chapman, Zack Collins, Dexter Fowler, Kevin Gausman, Yimi Garcia, Gosuke Katoh, Yusei Kikuchi, Raimel Tapia
Injuries: None
Grade: A-

Projected lineup

1 George Springer CF 32
2 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 1B 23
3 Teoscar Hernandez RF 29
4 Bo Bichette SS 24
5 Alejandro Kirk DH 23
6 Lourdes Gurriel Jr. LF 28
7 Matt Chapman 3B 29
8 Cavan Biggio (L) 2B 27
9 Danny Jansen C 27

The Blue Jays' offense was comically dominant last season, leading the majors in home runs, slugging, and OPS by a wide margin. The bulk of that group returns, though Semien's absence is a sizeable void. Chapman projects to bounce back offensively coming to Toronto, and his defense takes a lot of pressure off Bichette. Springer is healthy after missing 84 games, and his presence at the top of the order sets the table for the rest of the lineup. Guerrero and Bichette are coming off breakout seasons, and it will be interesting to see what the duo can for an encore. Trading away Grichuk creates more opportunity for someone like Kirk, though the club does feel like an outfielder short unless they're able to unearth some offense from Tapia.

Projected rotation

1 Jose Berrios R 28
2 Kevin Gausman R 31
3 Hyun Jin Ryu L 35
4 Alek Manoah R 24
5 Yusei Kikuchi L 31

The Blue Jays did well to replace AL Cy Young winner Ray with Gausman, who is a much different pitcher than the last time he resided in the division. Berrios was excellent following his arrival at the deadline, and after signing a sizeable extension, doesn't have the pressure of pitching for his next contract. If Ryu can bounce back from a down year, and Manoah can build off a strong rookie season, Toronto could have one of the AL's best rotations. Kikuchi is also a nice risk to take - even if it was on a multi-year deal. Being able to throw him at the back of the rotation could be a luxury.

Offseason grades: Everything you need to know about the AL East
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