MLB 2019 preview: AL East position battles to watch
Here’s one position battle worth following for each AL East team:Yankees — First baseGreg Bird was once one of the Yankees’ top prospects and he had an impressive 46-game stint with the team as a rookie in 2015. But, he has dealt with injuries and struggled since. Related News The American League East is loaded at the top once again this season.The Red Sox are the defending World Series champions while the Yankees added multiple impact pieces to a team that won 100 games last season. The Rays also have a chance to be competitive as they finished 2018 with a 90-72 record. Red Sox’s J.D. Martinez: Sluggish free agency won’t affect opt-out decision Apparently Greg Bird got another HR today… he’s looking healthy, locked in & ready to take 1st Base back, but who would you rather have?RT – Greg BirdFav – Luke Voit #Yankees pic.twitter.com/sonXPiVl3g— UK Yankees (@_UKYankees) February 28, 2019Meanwhile, Luke Voit hit .333 with 14 home runs and 33 RBIs after New York acquired him in late July. Voit has “a leg up” in the competition, manager Aaron Boone told reporters earlier this month.Red Sox — CloserThe Red Sox have multiple options to replace former closer Craig Kimbrel. The problem is they’re all unproven. Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier and Brandon Workman all could be in the mix for that role. The team could also elect to take a closer by committee approach. Rays — ‘Starting’ pitchingThe Rays have a ton of questions in their starting rotation behind Blake Snell and Charlie Morton. Tyler Glasnow has a chance to slide in behind those two while the final spots should be up for grabs in spring training.Tyler Glasnow, Mechanics/Pause (rear view). pic.twitter.com/kS0RWqMqEd— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) February 24, 2019Tampa Bay could also elect to use openers to fill two or three slots in the rotation, manager Kevin Cash told reporters in December.Blue Jays — Left fieldTeoscar Hernandez and Billy McKinney are completely different players and one will end up as the Blue Jays’ everyday left fielder. Hernandez tallied 22 home runs and 57 RBIs last season while McKinney is a plus defender who made his MLB debut in 2018. Hernandez could see time at DH if he loses out to McKinney.Orioles — Final outfield spotThere are at least three different players in the mix for the Orioles’ final starting outfield spot, which will most likely be in right field.Trey Mancini will probably be the everyday left fielder while Cedric Mullins will get most of the at-bats in center. That means Joey Rickard, DJ Stewart and Austin Hays will be battling for playing time.