Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
Boston Red Sox (88-74)
If divisions were won on offseason hype, the Red Sox would have this one sewn up.
They acquired closer Craig Kimbrel from the San Diego Padres. Then they netted ace David Price. Add young emerging stars like shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielder Mookie Betts, and you've got the makings of a worst-to-first finish in Beantown, right?
Maybe. No question the Red Sox got better, and they could well win the noisy, flawed AL East. But there are still plenty of questions.
Can Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, last year's free-agent duds, contribute anything? Do David Ortiz, who is embarking on his farewell tour, and Dustin Pedroia have much left in the tank? And is the rotation deep and talented enough after Price?
Pencil the Red Sox in as nominal division favorites. But if last season proved anything, it's that splashy winters don't always equal successful seasons.
Toronto Blue Jays (84-78)
The Blue Jays lost Price, and to a division rival no less. But while their rotation took a hit, they've still got baseball's beefiest offense, anchored by AL MVP Josh Donaldson.
With Jose Bautista seeking a king's ransom in free agency next winter and extension talks with Edwin Encarnacion stalled, the Jays' window may be closing.
It's wide-open for now, however, and while most of the talk has been about what Toronto lost, look for the defending AL East champs to make plenty of noise.
New York Yankees (83-79)
The Yankees didn't spend like the Yankees this offseason, adding zero big-ticket free agents and opting instead to swing deals for mercurial infielder Starlin Castro and closer Aroldis Chapman, who will open the season by serving a 30-game domestic abuse suspension.
Apparently, this is the new normal in the Bronx.
The Yankees do have a surplus of fragile, expensive veterans, including lineup cogs Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira and rotation keys Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia.
That means the Yanks' 2016 MVP could be the training staff. If they can find a way to keep the disabled list light, New York could return to the playoffs. Right now, however, that's a massive "if."
Tampa Bay Rays (81-81)
Like the Indians, the Rays are a sexy pick to sneak into contention. If they do, it'll be on the strength of their starting pitching—fronted by Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi with Alex Cobb due back from Tommy John surgery—and a defense that ranked third-best in the AL, per FanGraphs.
The rub is whether mid-level offseason additions such as Corey Dickerson and Logan Morrison will be enough to boost an offense that finished 25th in the big leagues in runs scored.
If anything, that .500 projection is probably right on the nose for Tampa Bay. But we'll sip the Kool-Aid and predict a winning season, if not a postseason berth.
Baltimore Orioles (79-83)
If you like dingers, the Orioles are your team. In addition to re-upping basher Chris Davis, the O's nabbed boppers Mark Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez to join a team that cracked 217 long balls in 2015, third-most in baseball.
Of course, you've got to throw the ball, too. And even with the addition of Yovani Gallardo, Baltimore's starting rotation looks shaky.
Still, with all that thump, budding superstar Manny Machado and an excellent bullpen, it seems like the Orioles should be getting more respect. This is a team that won the division in 2014, after all. And, especially if the Orioles add another starter at the trade deadline, they could easily do it again.