2024 AL East Division Preview

The AL East is once again primed to be a gauntlet, with so many tough teams battling it out to make the playoffs in the American League.

2024 trade deadline sellers Toronto Blue Jays
DETROIT, MI - JULY 08: Bo Bichette #11 (L) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays look on in the rain during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on July 8, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Blue Jays 2-0. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

The American League East is one of the most loaded divisions in all of baseball, with four teams that all expect to be playing come October. The Boston Red Sox are the lone exception to that group, and even they are far better than your typical last place team.

This offseason, the New York Yankees Baltimore Orioles each made massive additions through the trade market acquiring Juan Soto and Corbin Burnes respectively. These moves were clearly made in hopes of going for it all in 2024.

Beyond the Orioles and Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays each have a strong core of players on their roster, which they accented by making quality moves throughout the offseason.

Over the course of the last few weeks, our staff has written detailed team previews on each team from the AL East. Let’s take a look to get ready for another exciting divisional race that is set to kick off tomorrow!

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New York Yankees Season Preview

Written by: Ryan Trieste

During an offseason in which numerous stars moved to new teams, it is no surprise the New York Yankees got involved. With the acquisition of superstar outfielder Juan Soto, the Yankees may have formed their modern-day “Murderers’ Row.”

In 2023, the Yankees fell short of the postseason and the fans made sure Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman knew they were not content. After several years of mediocre results (by Yankee standards), it was time for some new additions. As a result, the new-look Yankees seem rejuvenated and ready to make some noise in 2024.

Many were questioning manager Aaron Boone’s future with the team following another year finishing far away from a World Series title. Boone is returning for his seventh season at the helm, but he will look to lead some new faces in the Bronx this year.

Fans in New York will be relieved to know that the outfield will look very different from last season. 2022 AL MVP and Yankee captain, Aaron Judge, will have new teammates surrounding him this season. Judge will finally get the support he’s been looking for with Soto hitting in front of him in the lineup, while Alex Verdugo fills out the outfield. In addition, Trent Grisham should be an upgrade for the bench.

On the pitching side, the Yankees will be missing their ace, Gerrit Cole, for the first two months or so of the season with elbow discomfort. The rest of the staff will need to step up if they want to succeed in 2024 following a 2023 season full of injuries and poor performances.

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The upcoming season presents a good opportunity for the Yankees to win their first ring since 2009. With Juan Soto’s future uncertain, there is no better time than now for the Bronx Bombers…

For the rest of this preview on the New York Yankees, click here.

Boston Red Sox Season Preview

Written by: Matthew Marasco

The Boston Red Sox have made a habit of creating controversy and angering their fanbase during the offseason. Last year at this time I wrote that the offseason had “been one of the most eventful, and controversial, in recent memory,” and the same cold be said for this past offseason.

Red Sox chairman Tom Werner promised fans that the team would go “full throttle” this offseason, giving Red Sox fans hopes of landing multiple big-name free agents (Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Jordan Montgomery, Jorge Soler, Shota Imanaga, Sonny Gray, or Blake Snell), or of a blockbuster trade for Corbin Burnes or Dylan Cease.

Instead, the only significant free agent signed was Lucas Giolito, who gave up the most home runs in baseball in the American League last year. They traded for Vaughn Grissom, a good player but certainly not one with a resume that justifies a comment about going “full throttle”.

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When fans began to express their outrage, team president Sam Kennedy called anyone who questioned the organization’s desire to win “liars”. The “town hall” with ownership at winter weekend was canceled, and face of the franchise Rafael Devers and closer Kenley Jansen both called out leadership for not doing enough to help the team this offseason.

With all of these off the field issues, it is easy to get caught up in the media whirlwind and feel as though the season is over before it even starts.

However, when looked at objectively, this is not a team devoid of talent, and one that would likely finish in the middle of the pack in any division other than the AL East.

With all of the necessary context for the season established, it is time to dive in and look at the units that make up the 2024 Boston Red Sox…

For the rest of this preview on the Boston Red Sox, click here.

Baltimore Orioles Season Preview

Written by: Harrison Bruns

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The 2024 Baltimore Orioles enter the season with large expectations. Last season the Orioles were able to capture their first division title since 2014.

Despite winning the most games in the American League, they were unable to win a playoff game. They were swept in three games by the eventual World Series Champion Texas Rangers. In 2024, the Baltimore Orioles look to improve upon that playoff performance.

This offseason the Orioles made their intentions this season clear. Trading for ace Corbin Burnes indicates that the Orioles believe that this is the year to compete for a World Series. They have a number of prospects looking to make impacts this season. Beyond the prospects, they also have a number of second and third year players looking to take steps forward.

The Orioles are no longer an underdog. This team has expectations. It is expected that they make the playoffs and compete for a playoff spot. It is also expected that they compete in the playoffs and make a real run at the AL Pennant. In order to find success this season the Orioles are going to have to transition from being the hunter and become comfortable being the hunted…

For the rest of this preview on the Baltimore Orioles, click here.

Tampa Bay Rays Season Preview

Written by: Eric Treuden

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After coming out of the gates with a 13-0 start to the 2023 season, you’d think the Tampa Bay Rays were already punching their ticket to the World Series. The club was firing on all cylinders and looked to be an absolute beast to start the year.

A month of July in which they went just 8-16 opened the door for the Orioles to catch up in the division standings. Ultimately, the O’s gained the lead in the AL East and never gave it back up. The Rays finished second with a 99-63 record, only to be swept out of the AL Wild Card Series by the eventual champs, the Rangers.

The Rays have been and always will be a massively underrated team. One of the very best at player development, this organization always finds a way to churn out top-tier homegrown talent.

The 2024 campaign is set up to be the same story. Other teams in the division have gone out and significantly upgraded their roster, but the Rays seem to be destined for another year of doing more with less. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that though, as they always find a way to make that work…

For the rest of this preview on the Tampa Bay Rays, click here.

Toronto Blue Jays Season Preview

Written by: Tyson Shushkewich

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The Toronto Blue Jays enter the 2024 campaign in a tough situation. The club is coming off a disappointing exit at the hands of the Minnesota Twins last season and hasn’t won a postseason game since 2016, a team that was built by previous general manager Alex Anthopoulos.

Since then, the current front office of president/CEO Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins has gone through a tough rebuild phase, added some of the biggest free agent signings in franchise history, and continued to compete in a stacked AL East division. However, there have been zero wins in the playoffs, which has fans on edge heading into a new season.

The front office didn’t make any huge additions free agent-wise this winter, a discourse from the most recent trend where since 2020, Atkins and Co. have brought a higher-tiered free agent north of the border. On top of the club’s additions, the roster from last season has some glaring holes, most notably the ones left behind by Matt Chapman, Brandon Belt, Whit Merrifield, and Hyun Jin Ryu.

In retrospect, the Blue Jays added Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Justin Turner, and Yariel Rodriguez while bringing back Kevin Kiermaier and Chad Green on new contracts. These moves helped on the defensive front but for a squad that sat in the middle of the pack offensively last year in numerous categories, bringing in Turner as the only upgrade in the lineup seemed lackluster at best considering all the free agents the Jays were supposedly interested in this past winter.

Instead, the front office appears to be leaning on the current roster to put behind an underwhelming 2023 season at the plate. They instead changed the coaching situation around, giving Don Mattingly an increased role for the hitting staff while also promoting Matt Hague from Triple-A, who did wonders with some of the younger players on the squad during their time in Buffalo.

It’s a risky move for a club that doesn’t have a single core player locked down to a long-term extension while also going to arbitration with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. this winter, losing their case to one of the more impactful bats in their lineup. Should the Jays fall short of postseason expectations once again, it could be curtains for Atkins at the helm and some tough decisions will need to be made in regards to the organization’s future.

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Before putting the cart before the horse, the Jays enter the 2024 season seemingly behind some of the other AL East squads, as the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, and Tampa Bay Rays all project to finish higher in the standings than Toronto. It appears to be an uphill battle for the Jays, who seem to be going in with more of an underdog mentality this season but shouldn’t be counted out just yet.

For the rest of this preview on the Toronto Blue Jays, click here.