Spring training will be here before we know it, but there’s still a lot of work for AL East teams to do before the 2017 season kicks off.
Plenty of free agents are still out there waiting for new squads, and in the arms race that is the AL East, teams that stand still get left behind.
Therefore, it’s time to take a quick look at one remaining free agent who each team should sign before pitchers and catchers report in a few weeks:
New York Yankees: Jason Hammel
This could be the year the Yankees can no longer trot CC Sabathia out to the mound every five days, and the team’s rotation depth isn’t that great to begin with.
Adding Hammel to the mix would be a smart, economical move for the Yankees, who need some proven talent behind some young guys who will be relied upon for innings this season.
Boston Red Sox: Travis Wood
The Red Sox have already done a lot of work on their roster this offseason, adding important pieces like Chris Sale and Mitch Moreland to the mix.
However, bullpen depth is always an area teams need to improve and Travis Wood fits Boston’s needs perfectly.
The lefty is a shutdown reliever who can also be extended into a starting role as needed. With an iffy rotation behind Rick Porcello, Sale and David Price, the Red Sox should invest in Wood as a backup plan in case one of their other starters doesn’t work out.
Baltimore Orioles: Pedro Alvarez
If the Orioles aren’t willing to pony up the dough required to re-sign slugger Mark Trumbo, perhaps they should look to another in-house candidate to replace him.
Pedro Alvarez also spent the 2016 season with Baltimore, where he slugged 22 home runs and drove in 49 runs while hitting .249.
With a need for a DH and occasional sub for Chris Davis at first base, the Orioles need a guy like Alvarez on the roster before the 2017 season begins.
Toronto Blue Jays: Jose Bautista
The Blue Jays accomplished their perfect free-agent signing on Tuesday by agreeing to a one-year, $18 million deal with slugger Jose Bautista, who has been the face of the Toronto franchise since 2009.
The new deal could be worth up to $60 million, but the second and third years of the contract are mutual options.
Tampa Bay Rays: Mike Napoli
The Rays have an opening at first base and DH, and Napoli would be a perfect fit for that spot.
The veteran would provide excellent leadership and a winning mindset for a team that has suffered through a couple of down years.
Plus, after hitting 34 homers and driving in 101 runs for the Cleveland Indians last year, he still has a lot of value to add with his powerful bat, too.