Here’s the latest from around the AL East…
- The Rays added several veterans to an already-crowded outfield and first base mix, leaving youngsters Mikie Mahtook and Richie Shaffer disappointed but understanding about probable Triple-A assignments, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. It’s not out of the question that a roster spot could open up in the event of an injury or a trade. The Rays have been rumored as a possible trade partner for teams looking for outfield help, and the club has been shopping first baseman James Loney for much of the winter.
- Yoan Moncada isn’t likely to be playing his natural second base position with the Red Sox as long as Dustin Pedroia is in Boston, but the Sox want to see Moncada prove himself defensively at his “base position” before shuffling him around the diamond, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford writes. Moncada made 23 errors in 71 A-level games at second last season, so there’s certainly still work to be done in that regard, though scouts have long felt Moncada has the athleticism to play third base or the outfield.
- Several players vying for spots on the Blue Jays roster are out of options, which the Toronto Sun’s Ken Fidlin feels could impact the team’s decisions for Opening Day. Of the four outfielders (Domonic Brown, Ezequiel Carrera, Darrell Ceciliani, Junior Lake) competing for a backup spot, for instance, Ceciliani is the only one with a minor league option remaining. The battle for the fifth starter’s job is similarly complicated since Aaron Sanchez, Gavin Floyd and Jesse Chavez are out of options while Drew Hutchison isn’t.
- The fifth starter competition is further complicated by the fact that Sanchez and Floyd both pitched well in Grapefruit League action today, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith writes. The Jays would obviously love to see heralded prospect Sanchez in their rotation, though the team also knows it use Sanchez as a setup man since he thrived in the role last season. Alternatively, Sanchez could start while Chavez and Floyd go to the bullpen, as Chavez has swingman experience and relief work could be easier on Floyd’s arm given his injury history.
- Also from the AL East, MLBTR’s Zach Links spoke to Russell Martin about the catcher’s free agent experience last winter.