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AL East Offseason Review

Another offseason came and went, and a few notable players switched teams. Here’s a look at some of the bigger names, where they left, where they went to, and how they fit in with their new teams. Although I will go in-depth, I cannot cover every single move and will ultimately leave out a few big moves at my will. Did you know that since I have nothing better to do, I reviewed nearly every offseason transaction of note? You can view them here, as well as  in-depth analysis from the others who write for this site. So enjoy a quick offseason review for every team in the MLB and reminisce on your team’s decisions over the past few months. Don’t worry, we’re all judging.

March 27, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher

AL East Offseason Review

New York Yankees Offseason Review

The Yankees completely overhauled their rotation by re-signing long-time Yankee Andy Pettitte to a minor league deal, but we all know that he’s going to be back in the Majors in no time. The Yanks added solid veteran starter Hiroki Kuroda, but the two biggest moves had to do with trades. A.J. Burnett just wasn’t getting it done in the Big Apple, and after helping them win a ring, his use wore out. Burnett became a liability and his contract- as many expected- became a burden to bear. The team subsequently dealt him to the Pittsburgh Pirates for 30 cents on the dollar, and Neil Huntington’s squad was boosted by the addition of a No. 2 starter. The Yanks had to eat up a large portion of the overpaid starter’s contract, but Burnett’s cause for becoming expendable had nothing to do with injury (a common thought when the deal was first made). Many people will love to pick on him, but he’s still a useful, near league-average starter with bounce-back potential as a veteran on a new squad.

But this biggest move of off-season for the Bronx Bombers was definitely the Michael Pineda-Jesus Montero swap with the Seattle Mariners. As legend has it, the Mariners asked Brian Cashman “What will it take to get Montero” and Cashman replied, “Pineda” (or something like that). It’s difficult to judge this trade too much at this point, but Cashman did say that Pineda’s future succes (and the success of this deal) lies in his ability to come up with a third pitch. His recent injury doesn’t help his cause, but the Yankees were in a position to sacrifice hitting (a likely DH) for a front-line starter. I still like this deal for both teams, but some fans are already swinging to the Montero side.

Grade: A-

Boston Red Sox Offseason Review

The Red Sox traded quality, 3 WAR shortstop Marco Scutaro to the Colorado Rockies for pocket change in what was definitely a money-saving move to hold out some cash for a mid-season pick up (think Roy Oswalt). They will now run a platoon with the newly minted Nick Punto and Mike Aviles, and the team is confident that they will not lose much production from the platoon. Cody Ross will also fill out a platoon with Ryan Sweeney in the outfield, which means that two new acquisitions will play in right. Sweeney was acquired with ace reliever Andrew Bailey for Josh Reddick and two mediocre prospects.

Bailey and Mark Melancon (for shortstop Jed Lowrie and quality pitching prospect Kyle Weiland) will morph a bullpen that helped complete the collapse last season. I mean, there is a strong correlation between a bullpen’s strength and a late-season collapse; just ask the Tigers, Mets, and Sox. Jonathan Papelbon was signed by the Phillies (more like overpaid) and Daniel Bard is the new No. 5 starter, so there was obviously a void.

Grade: B+

Tampa Bay Rays Offseason Review

The Rays focused on adding solid players, most namely power bats Carlos Pena and Luke Scott. It’s great to see Pena back in the Trop, and he’s an enormous upgrade over the extremely lucky Casey Kotchman (credit the Rays for riding that hot streak). Scott is a streaky hitter in his own right and a sure bet for 20 dingers, and those streaks he goes on are insane.

The Rays dealt famous former lead-off hitter John Jaso who exemplified the team’s unorthodox but smart tactics, and they received much-maligned but talented reliever Josh Lueke from the Mariners. He has potential and a great heater, so look for him to team up with the next Rays bounce-back reclamation project in the pen; former closer Fernando Rodney. Jose Molina was signed to replace Jaso in a likely platoon at catcher, but the useless hitter is a useful addition with his extremely proficient pitch-plating and quality defense.

Grade: B

Toronto Blue Jays Offseason Review

The Jays completed arguably the greatest bullpen turnaround in offseason history (not like I’m exaggerating or anything) by acquiring Sergio Santos in a terrific deal with the Chicago White Sox (but it isn’t like prospect Nestor Molina is merely change, he’s a legit prospect). Even better moves by the immaculate Alex Anthopoulos were the coups to bring back Jason Frasor (spent last season with the White Sox), criminally underrated oldie-but-goodie Jason Frasor, and Francisco Cordero. This bullpen went from a bottom-feeder to a top five pen; that’s called a productive offseason to make the Jays a nice darkhorse team.

Grade: A

Baltimore Orioles Offseason Review

The O’s made a solid move to sign Wilson Betemit and added the talented Wei-Yin Chen, but I’ll forever remember the random Luis Ayala signing (not really) and the Jeremy Guthrie trade. He’s one of my favorite pitchers, and the O’s idea to trade him to the Rockies was somewhat quizzical, since he’s an obvious fan favorite and a key veteran. Jason Hammel is a nice upside guy and Matt Lindstrom is a better-thank-you-think, Peter Crouch type reliever who provides solid value. The deal was worse for the Rockies, but not many Orioles fans were happy about seeing Guthrie go.

Grade: D-

Be sure to check out all of Call to the Pen’s transaction breakdowns for the 2011-12 offseason. You can follow Call to the Pen on Twitter at @FSCalltothePen or like us here on Facebook.

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