NEW YORK YANKEES
Manager: Joe Girardi (fifth season)
2011: 97-65, first place, lost in division series
Training Town: Tampa, Fla.
Park: George M. Steinbrenner Field
First Workout: Feb. 20/25
He’s Here: RHP Michael Pineda, RHP Hiroki Kuroda, INF-OF Bill Hall, 1B-DH Russell Branyan, RHP Manny Delcarmen, OF Dewayne Wise
He’s Outta Here: DH-1B Jorge Posada, RHP Bartolo Colon, RHP Hector Noesi, RHP Andrew Brackman, 3B Eric Chavez, DH-C Jesus Montero
Going campin’: Despite losing in the first round of the playoffs, the Yankees laid low for most of the off-season, passing on what they felt was a weak free-agent crop in the areas of their needs. But in a span of several hours on one January day, they beefed up their biggest problem area: starting pitching. New York signed Kuroda to a reasonable one-year, $10 million contract and acquired Pineda, a hard-throwing youngster, giving the club seven pitchers for five rotation spots. With Ivan Nova emerging as a rising star – going 16-4 in his rookie year – Phil Hughes could find himself in the bullpen, two seasons removed from winning 18 games. The big question is what will they do with A.J. Burnett, whose 5.15 ERA was third worst among all qualifying pitchers last season? The temperamental Burnett has two more years left on a five-year, $82.5 million contract and has struggled mightily the past two seasons. To get Pineda, the Yankees gave up young power hitter Montero. They still might try to sign a lefty bat to help fill the DH role. Alex Rodriguez, coming off an injury plagued year in which he hit only 16 homers, had experimental treatment on his right knee and left shoulder in Germany in December. He could see increased time at DH as could as Derek Jeter, who’ll turn 38 in June.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
Manager: Joe Maddon (seventh season)
2011: 91-71, wild card, lost in division series
Training Town: Port Charlotte, Fla.
Park: Charlotte Sports Park
First Workout: Feb. 21/26
He’s Here: 1B Carlos Pena, OF Luke Scott, RHP Burke Badenhop, RHP Fernando Rodney, C Jose Molina, INF Jeff Keppinger
He’s Outta Here: DH-OF Johnny Damon, C Kelly Shoppach, C John Jaso, 1B Casey Kotchman, 1B Dan Johnson, OF Justin Ruggiano, RHP Juan Cruz, RHP Andy Sonnanstine
Going campin’: The budget-minded Rays, who have made the playoffs three of the past four seasons, surprisingly addressed their biggest off-season priorities – adding some power to the middle of the batting order and bolstering the bullpen – without parting with any of their surplus of young starting pitchers. Barring a last-minute trade, they’ll go to training camp with David Price, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann and rookie Matt Moore, who earned the team’s only win in last year’s playoffs. Although executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman hasn’t ruled out the possibility of making a deal, he has stressed the Rays are comfortable with having an extra starter. Free agent sluggers Pena and Scott were added without sacrificing anything on defense, where Tampa Bay ranks as among best teams in the AL. Pena is a former Gold Glove first baseman who averaged 36 homers, 102 RBI and 93 walks in an earlier four-year stint with Tampa Bay from 2007 to 2010. Scott replaces Damon as the team’s primary designated hitter and is capable of filling in defensively at first base and in the outfield. Keppinger is a utility player who provides another right-handed bat off the bench. Badenhop and Rodney join a bullpen that was rebuilt a year ago after the Rays lost six relievers to free agency.
BOSTON RED SOX
Manager: Bobby Valentine (first season)
2011: 90-72, third place
Training Town: Fort Myers, Fla.
Park: JetBlue Park
First Workout: Feb. 21/25
He’s Here: Manager Bobby Valentine, OF Cody Ross, OF Ryan Sweeney, INF Nick Punto, C Kelly Shoppach, RHP Andrew Bailey, RHP Mark Melancon, RHP Vicente Padilla, RHP Aaron Cook
He’s Outta Here: RF J.D. Drew, RF Josh Reddick, SS Marco Scutaro, INF Josh Lowrie, C Jason Varitek, RHP Tim Wakefield, RHP Dan Wheeler, LHP Erik Bedard, RHP Jonathan Papelbon
Going campin’: Valentine needs to restore order to a clubhouse that lacked discipline, which contributed to a 7-20 September that left the Red Sox out of the playoffs in Terry Francona’s last season as manager. Ben Cherington stayed away from high-priced signings when he became general manager after Theo Epstein took over as president of baseball operations of the Chicago Cubs. After signing Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to contracts worth $296 million last off-season, the Red Sox let Papelbon leave rather than sign the closer to an expensive deal. They hope Bailey, obtained from Oakland, can fill his role. Boston also picked up Melancon from Houston. He could fill the setup role that would be vacant if Daniel Bard makes the transition to starter. Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz return to the rotation, which still has several candidates for the No. 5 spot. With Drew gone and Crawford expected to miss the start of the season following left wrist surgery, Boston could open with Ross in left field and Sweeney in right. The Red Sox need Crawford to bounce back from a disappointing year. But with Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis returning, the Red Sox lineup is strong.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Manager: John Farrell (second season)
2011: 81-81, fourth place
Training Town: Dunedin, Fla.
Park: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium
First Workout: Feb. 22/25.
He’s Here: RHP Francisco Cordero, OF Ben Francisco, LHP Aaron Laffey, C Jeff Mathis, LHP Darren Oliver, RHP Sergio Santos, INF Luis Valbuena, INF Omar Vizquel
He’s Outta Here: RHP Shawn Camp, RHP Frank Francisco, OF Adam Loewen, C Jose Molina, RHP Jon Rauch, INF Mark Teahen, OF Dewayne Wise
Going campin’: The Blue Jays rebuilt their bullpen after blowing 25 save opportunities last season, tied for third most in baseball. Santos, a shortstop prospect the last time he was with the Blue Jays, was reacquired in a trade with the Chicago White Sox, and will be handed the closer’s job, with Oliver and Cordero taking the setup roles. Toronto failed to add another big bat behind Jose Bautista, who successfully defended his major league home run crown in 2011, and also came up short in its search for another arm to add to the rotation, an off-season priority for Farrell. Despite missing out on Japanese ace Yu Darvish, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos remains confident in his young staff, led by left-hander Ricky Romero. Toronto’s only real position battle appears to be left field, where Travis Snider and Eric Thames will square off for the starting job.
Manager: Buck Showalter (second full season)
2011: 69-93, fifth place
Training Town: Sarasota, Fla.
Park: Ed Smith Stadium
First Workout: Feb. 19/24.
He’s Here: LHP Wei-Yin Chen, LHP Dana Eveland, RHP Jason Hammel, RHP Matt Lindstrom, LHP Tsuyoshi Wada, C Taylor Teagarden, 2B Matt Antonelli, OF Endy Chavez, CF Jai Miller, INF Wilson Betemit, INF Ryan Flaherty
He’s Outta Here: DH Vladimir Guerrero, LF Luke Scott, C Jake Fox, OF Felix Pie, RHP Chris Jakubauskas, RHP Jeremy Guthrie, LHP Jo-Jo Reyes, RHP Rick VandenHurk
Going campin’: After taking over for Andy MacPhail, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette promptly launched a worldwide search for viable pitching talent. His quest landed Chen of Taiwan and Japan’s Wada, along with a host of domestic hurlers. That means Showalter will have plenty to choose from in Florida as he seeks to assemble a viable starting rotation. The list of hopefuls includes newcomers Eveland and Hammel, as well as several young holdovers from last season (Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen, Jack Arrieta) Showalter also must determine whether to maintain shaky Kevin Gregg as the closer, and if oft-injured Brian Roberts is healthy enough to return to second base and bat leadoff. The Orioles aren’t going to be contenders this season, but hope to at least avoid a 15th consecutive losing season.
Manager: Jim Leyland (seventh season)
2011: 95-67, first place, lost in ALCS
Training Town: Lakeland, Fla.
Park: Joker Marchant Stadium
First Workout: Feb. 20/24
He’s Here: 1B Prince Fielder, RHP Collin Balester, RHP Octavio Dotel, C Gerald Laird
He’s Outta Here: 3B Wilson Betemit, 2B Carlos Guillen, OF Magglio Ordonez, RHP Brad Penny, RHP Ryan Perry, 2B Will Rhymes, LHP Brad Thomas, RHP Joel Zumaya
Going campin’: Perhaps no team will be more fascinating to watch this season than the Tigers, who responded to Victor Martinez’s knee injury with a stunning $214 million bid for Fielder. To make room for the slugging first baseman, Detroit plans to move Miguel Cabrera to third and hope for the best defensively. Martinez could miss the whole season after left knee surgery, but the Tigers now have three of the game’s biggest stars – Fielder, Cabrera and Justin Verlander – all in their primes. Verlander won the Cy Young Award and MVP last season, helping the Tigers win the division by 15 games. Aside from Cabrera’s position switch, Detroit’s biggest question heading into spring training might be the fifth starter spot. Jacob Turner, who struck out 110 in 131 minor league innings last season, could be a candidate. Closer Jose Valverde will try for an encore performance after saving all 49 of his chances in 2011. Speed will be scarce with this lineup. Leadoff man Austin Jackson stole 22 bases last year but posted an on-base percentage of only .317 and stuck out 181 times. This will be Jackson’s third season and an important one for the young center fielder.
Manager: Manny Acta (third season)
2011: 80-82, second place
Training Town: Goodyear, Ariz.
Park: Goodyear Ballpark
First Workout: Feb. 22/25
He’s Here: RHP Derek Lowe, RHP Kevin Slowey, 1B Casey Kotchman, INF Russ Canzler, OF Aaron Cunningham, RHP Dan Wheeler, OF Ryan Spilborghs, C Matt Pagnozzi, RHP Jeremy Accardo, 3B Andy LaRoche, OF Fred Lewis, 3B Jose Lopez, OF Felix Pie, RHP Robinson Tejeda
He’s Outta Here: DH Jim Thome, OF Travis Buck, RHP Justin Germano, OF Jerad Head, OF Austin Kearns, RHP Zach Putnam, RHP Mitch Talbot
Going campin’: Without the funds to land any big-name free agents, the Indians’ priority this winter was to add depth in case of injuries and hopefully close on the Tigers, who put a crimp in Cleveland’s plans by signing slugger Prince Fielder for nine years. Lowe was a smart, low-risk addition to a solid rotation since the Braves will pay $10 million of his $15 million salary. Fausto Carmona’s arrest on identity fraud charges in the Dominican Republic forced the Indians to acquire Slowey, who went 0-8 for Minnesota last season. Carmona’s future with the club remains uncertain. Canzler and Cunningham will each have a chance to win roster spots. The biggest competition in camp will be between Jack Hannahan and Lonnie Chisenhall at third. An excellent fielder, Kotchman, coming off a career-best season at Tampa Bay, immediately improves Cleveland’s defense and his arrival likely means the disappointing Matt LaPorta will begin the season at Triple-A Columbus. Injuries ravaged the Indians last season, offsetting the 30-15 start that vaulted them into contention. The club will pay close attention this spring to former All-Star center fielder Grady Sizemore, who has been unable to stay on the field the past three seasons.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Manager: Robin Ventura (first season)
2011: 79-83, third place
Training town: Glendale, Ariz.
Park: Camelback Ranch
First workout: Feb. 23/28
He’s Here: Ventura, INF Osvaldo Martinez, RHP Jhan Marinez, RHP Nestor Molina, RHP Simon Castro, LHP Pedro Hernandez.
He’s Outta Here: LHP Mark Buehrle, OF Carlos Quentin, OF Juan Pierre, RHP Sergio Santos, RHP Jason Frasor
Going campin’: Ventura was the surprise choice to replace his former teammate, the often outrageous Ozzie Guillen, as manager. And Ventura, the former Sox third baseman, faces a big challenge in making the team competitive in the AL Central where the Tigers just added Prince Fielder. During an off-season that points to rebuilding, the White Sox either lost or dealt away their ace (Buehrle), their closer (Santos), a run-producing but oft-injured outfielder (Quentin) and their leadoff hitter (Pierre) In return they got a bevy of pitching prospects. Chicago is hoping DH Adam Dunn’s nightmarish first season (.159, 11 homers, 42 RBI, 177 Ks) was an anomaly and that OF Alex Rios and 2B Gordon Beckham also shake off subpar seasons. John Danks got a new contract to replace Buehrle as ace and the White Sox desperately need a healthy Jake Peavy to return to the form he once displayed with the Padres. Matt Thornton, who struggled as the closer last April, will likely get another shot at the role with Santos off to Toronto. The Sox are counting on talented young outfielder Dayan Viciedo to take over in right for Quentin and are looking for another stellar season from their leader, 1B Paul Konerko.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Manager: Ned Yost (third season)
2011: 71-91, fourth place
Training Town: Surprise, Ariz.
Park: Surprise Stadium
First Workout: Feb. 21 /25
He’s Here: LHP Jonathan Sanchez, LHP Jose Mijares, RHP Jonathan Broxton, LHP Ryan Verdugo, INF Yuniesky Betancourt
He’s Outta Here: CF Melky Cabrera, LHP Jeff Francis, LHP Aaron Laffey
Going campin’: The Royals upgraded their starting rotation by trading Cabrera, their center fielder, to San Francisco for Sanchez, and bolstered their bullpen by acquiring Mijares and Broxton. But that’s about all they’ve done this off-season, content to head into the season with the youngest lineup in baseball. The average age most nights will be about 27 years old, and several times last season it was 24. First baseman Eric Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas are the cornerstones of the youth movement after arriving from the minors last season, while catcher Salvador Perez, second baseman Johnny Giavotella and shortstop Alcides Escobar showed flashes of brilliance. Jeff Francoeur is back in right field and Alex Gordon had a breakout season in left, and is trying to work out a long-term deal to stay with Kansas City. Hotshot prospect Lorenzo Cain will get the job in center. But pitching remains the biggest question mark. Bruce Chen is a solid veteran, Sanchez has been good when he’s been healthy, and Luke Hochevar showed signs of finally becoming an elite starter. Two more starters need to emerge from a pool that includes Danny Duffy, Felipe Paulino, Luis Mendoza and top prospect Mike Montgomery.
Manager: Ron Gardenhire (11th season)
2011: 63-99, fifth place
Training Town: Ft. Myers, Fla.
Park: Hammond Stadium
First Workout: Feb. 19/24
He’s Here: SS Jamey Carroll, RHP Joel Zumaya, OF Josh Willingham, RHP Jason Marquis, C Ryan Doumit
He’s Outta Here: RHP Joe Nathan, OF Michael Cuddyer, OF Jason Kubel, RHP Kevin Slowey, OF Jason Repko.
Going campin’: It’s a new day in Minnesota. Gone are clubhouse pillars Nathan and Cuddyer, who served as leaders and spokesmen both on and off the field. Kubel was also a mainstay for years here, so the Twins will be even more dependent on 1B Justin Morneau, C Joe Mauer and CF Denard Span to come back healthy after missing huge chunks of time last year to injury. The hope is that Morneau and Span have put their concussion problems behind them and Mauer reports fully healthy and in shape when camp opens. If that happens, a strong nucleus will be back for a team that is used to being a factor in the division. If those three stars cannot stay healthy, and if the ace-less starting rotation struggles again to get hitters out, it could be another long season at Target Field. Gardenhire has promised a renewed focus on fundamentals in camp this spring. “Playing the right way” used to be this franchise’s hallmark, but errors in the field and on the bases contributed to the team’s woeful finish.
Manager: Ron Washington (sixth season)
2011: 96-66, first place, AL champions, lost World Series
Training Town: Surprise, Ariz.
Park: Surprise Stadium
First Workout: Feb. 23/26
He’s Here: RHP Yu Darvish, RHP Joe Nathan
He’s Outta Here: LHP C.J. Wilson, LHP Darren Oliver
Going campin’: After consecutive World Series appearances, and twice in Game 6 last year coming within one strike of a title before losing to St. Louis in seven games, the Rangers have established themselves as one of baseball’s most solid teams. The top-hitting lineup in the majors will be basically unchanged and Texas countered the loss of Wilson in free agency – he took a five-year deal from the AL West rival Los Angeles Angels – by signing Darvish. The Rangers committed more than $107 million to acquire Japan’s top pitcher, including a $56 million, six-year contract. That isn’t the only change in the rotation. Hard-throwing closer Neftali Feliz is switching to a starting role, a move made easier by the signing of Nathan, the veteran free agent closer. Plus, All-Star right-hander Alexi Ogando is expected to move back into the bullpen after winning 13 games as a starter last year. Slugger Josh Hamilton’s admitted one-night relapse with alcohol during the off-season created questions about his long-term future with the Rangers. The outfielder can be a free agent after this season, but the team put on indefinite hold talks about a contract extension. Texas has hired a new special staff assistant whose job includes being in a support role for Hamilton. Johnny Narron did that before he left this winter to become Milwaukee’s hitting coach. Hamilton, who hit .298 with 25 home runs in 121 games last season, had sports hernia surgery in November after playing injured throughout the postseason.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Manager: Mike Scioscia (13th season)
2011: 86-76, second place
Training Town: Tempe, Ariz.
Park: Tempe Diablo Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 20/27
He’s Here: 1B Albert Pujols, LHP C.J. Wilson, C Chris Iannetta, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, INF Jorge Cantu, OF Ryan Langerhans, LHP Brad Mills
He’s Outta Here: C Jeff Mathis, RHP Joel Pineiro, RHP Tyler Chatwood, INF Russell Branyan, OF Reggie Willits
Going campin’: The Angels begin a season of sky-high expectations with the arrival of Pujols, the three-time NL MVP coming off his second World Series title with St. Louis. The Angels’ $240-million man will arrive at camp a week early to integrate himself into a lineup that often sputtered last season. He’s joined by Orange County native Wilson, who spurned the AL West rival Rangers to join a stellar rotation alongside Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. Perhaps the player with the most spring work to do is Iannetta, acquired from Colorado to run the pitching staff while hopefully providing more offense than the trio of punchless hitters who held the job last year. While Pujols settles in, the Angels must figure out what to do with fellow first basemen Mark Trumbo, who led the club in homers and RBI as a rookie last season, and Kendrys Morales, who’s cautiously optimistic he’ll return this spring from nearly two years away with a broken left ankle. Trumbo, who’s also coming back from surgery, and Morales might work on learning new positions in spring. Aside from the additions, much of last season’s lineup returns intact after GM Jerry Dipoto swiftly re-signed several arbitration-eligible players. Even with several big decisions to make in the spring, Scioscia believes Los Angeles has all the pieces necessary to get back to the postseason after a two-year absence.
Manager: Bob Melvin (first full season)
2011: 74-88, third place
Training Town: Phoenix
Park: Phoenix Municipal Stadium
First Workout: Feb. 19/25
He’s Here: Manager Bob Melvin, LF Seth Smith, RF Josh Reddick, OF Jonny Gomes, RHP Bartolo Colon, RHP Jarrod Parker, RHP Ryan Cook, OF Collin Cowgill
He’s Outta Here: RHP Trevor Cahill, LHP Gio Gonzalez, RHP Andrew Bailey, OF Ryan Sweeney, LHP Craig Breslow, RHP Guillermo Moscoso, LHP Josh Outman
Going campin’: Center fielder Coco Crisp re-signed, and that became quite a bright spot and big deal considering the way new-look Oakland traded away much of its roster this winter in the hopes of landing a new ballpark in San Jose and rebuilding accordingly in anticipation of playing in a new venue. Yet that’s still a long way off, with commissioner Bud Selig yet to rule whether the low-budget A’s can leave the rundown Oakland Coliseum and move into the San Francisco Giants’ territory. Owner Lew Wolff, GM Billy Beane and Oakland’s brass are preparing as if they’ll get the OK – and soon. The rotation will be young with big holes to fill after the A’s dealt two top starters in Cahill and Gonzalez and also All-Star closer Bailey. LHP Dallas Braden is working his way back from surgery on his pitching shoulder, so it could be tough for the A’s early as Melvin figures out who he can count on regularly in a division that has already improved drastically with the addition of slugger Albert Pujols with the Angels and star Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish with the two-time reigning AL champion Texas Rangers. The A’s have another quick spring to prepare before again opening the season in Japan, on March 28 against the Seattle Mariners. Oakland, which hasn’t reached the playoffs or had a winning season since being swept by the Tigers in the 2006 AL Championship Series, also played in Japan vs. Boston four years ago.
Manager: Eric Wedge (second season)
2011: 67-95, fourth place
Training Town: Peoria, Ariz.
Park: Peoria Sports Complex.
First Workout: Started Saturday/Feb. 18
He’s Here: C-DH Jesus Montero, RHP Hector Noesi, LHP George Sherrill, RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, RHP Kevin Millwood, INF Munenori Kawasaki, INF Carlos Guillen, C John Jaso
He’s Outta Here: RHP Michael Pineda, INF Adam Kennedy, RHP Josh Lueke, C Josh Bard
Going campin’: The Mariners failed this off-season to land the much-needed, established slugger to help address their three-year offensive slump so they dealt young All-Star Pineda to the New York Yankees for Montero, a top prospect, and Noesi. While Montero’s ability behind the plate is still up for debate, there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the potential he brings to a lineup that was the worst in baseball last season. Wedge will be doing some serious lineup juggling during the spring with the initial plan being to move Ichiro Suzuki out of the leadoff spot. Dustin Ackley or perhaps Chone Figgins, whose $36 million investment has so far been a bust, are candidates to take his spot. Wedge must also sort out a traffic jam in left field where Mike Carp, Casper Wells, Michael Saunders, Carlos Peguero and Trayvon Robinson all saw time last season. Much of spring training, which starts for Seattle a week earlier than anyone else in baseball because the Mariners open the season in Japan against Oakland, will focus on the young pitching staff. Starting prospects James Paxton, Taijuan Walker and Danny Hultzen will all get a chance to make the squad, although it’ll be difficult. Still, the Mariners starting staff expects to be their strength with Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, newcomer Hisashi Iwakuma and Noesi.
– Associated Press