The Yankees’ postseason didn’t last long, as the team fell, 3-0, to the Astros in tonight’s American League Wild Card game. Their focus will now shift to the offseason, but here are some notes on the other teams in the AL East that have already been plotting out their winter game plans…
- The Rays are having conversations about payroll constraints, general manager Matthew Silverman told reporters, including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). As Silverman points out, the top 10 teams in the league averaged a payroll that was $100MM greater than the Rays’ 2015 mark of $75MM. Payroll restrictions typically prevent the Rays from significant free-agent expenditures, and they also prevent Tampa Bay from being able to hang onto many of their homegrown stars. A look at MLBTR’s arbitration projections shows that the Rays could have some tough calls on their hands this winter, as their 11 arb-eligible players project to earn a combined $28.9MM.
- The Red Sox are asking Hanley Ramirez to drop 15 to 20 pounds this offseason, interim manager Torey Lovullo told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. The organization feels that as an infielder, it’ll pay off to be more agile than was required in left field. Ramirez was listed at 225 pounds this season, though Lauber notes that he reported at 240 pounds — 10 pounds heavier than he was in 2014. While the Sox will likely make an effort to trade Ramirez his offseason, he’ll be penciled in at first base if he returns to the club in 2016.
- Lauber’s colleague, Jason Mastrodonato, asks five critical questions for the Red Sox as they head into the offseason. Among them are whether or not Christian Vazquez will be able to throw right away next season (the young catcher had Tommy John surgery earlier this year), if Rusney Castillo’s bat will merit regular playing time and if the team can effectively develop starting pitching or if changes are needed.
- Arthroscopic surgery on the right (non-throwing) shoulder of Orioles lefty Brian Matusz went as planned today, writes Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. Matusz said that the recovery process should take about a month, which should give him time to recover and have a typical offseason. Matusz is arbitration eligible for the final time this offseason and will be a free agent next winter.