American League preview

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

A lot has happened in the American League since the Phillies' Shane Victorino grounded out to end the 2009 World Series, giving the New York Yankees their first championship in nine years.

New arrivals, departures, free-agent signings and trades filled the transaction wires in the ensuing 106 days. Today, Toronto Sun baseball columnist BOB ELLIOTT reviews the off-field action, poses the key questions and checks out the Canadian content as AL teams prepare to open spring training.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

ADDITIONS: 1B Garrett Atkins, 3B Miguel Tejada, RP Mike Gonzalez, RHP Kevin Millwood.

DEPARTURES: 3B Melvin Mora, RP Chris Ray.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: For a 64-win team, this roster is surprisingly set, but who will be fifth starter if not Chris Tillman?

- Is Craig Tatum or Chad Moeller the backup catcher?

- Who will fill the two bullpen vacancies -- Kam Mickolio, Cla Meredith, Matt Albers or Dennis Sarfate?

CANADIAN CONTENT: Toronto's John Mariotti pitched 82 innings at double-A Bowie in 2009.

PROJECTED PAYROLL: $75 million US.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Mickolio. A good camp gets him a spot in bullpen. Part of the Erik Bedard deal, he has impressed in flashes.

BOSTON RED SOX

ADDITIONS: 3B Adrian Beltre, SS Marco Scutaro, OFs Mike Cameron, Bill Hall, Jeremy Hermida, RHPs John Lackey, Boof Bonser.

DEPARTURES: OFs Rocco Baldelli and Brian Anderson, RPs Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito, RHP Paul Byrd, INF Nick Green, SS Alex

Gonzalez, LF Jason Bay, 1B Casey Kotchman, C George Kottaras.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: How will Jacoby Ellsbury's move to left work with Cameron in centre?

- Can Cameron's bat replace Bay's?

- Will Mike Lowell be platooned at DH with David Ortiz?

- Rotation questions: Josh Beckett is in his contract year, Tim Wakefield is the sixth man in a five-man rotation and can Daisuke Matsuzaka

rebound?

CANADIAN CONTENT: Bay of Trail, B.C., Markham's Kottaras are gone.

PROJECTED PAYROLL: $170 million

KEEP AN EYE ON: Bonser? It's a stacked deck.

NEW YORK YANKEES

ADDITIONS: CF Curtis Granderson, RHP Javier Vazquez, DH Nick Johnson, OF Randy Winn.

DEPARTURES: OFs Johnny Damon and Melky Cabrera, DH Hideki Matsui, C Jose Molina, RP Phil Coke.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: Many executives think Granderson's best position in left, can he handle centre? Is Brett Gardner a better option?

- How to replace the 52 homers Damon and Matsui provided.

- What are Joba Chamberlain's rules this year?

- Who is the fifth starter? Phil Hughes, Chad Gaudin, Alfredo Aceves or Chamberlain?

CANADIAN CONTENT: 3B coach Robbie Thomson of Corunna, Ont.

PROJECTED PAYROLL: $200 million.

TAMPA BAY RAYS

ADDITIONS: RHP Rafael Soriano, C Kelly Shoppach, 1B Dan Johnson, RHP Mike Ekstrom

DEPARTURES: 2B Akinori Iwamura, C Gregg Zaun, OF Gabe Gross, RPs Russ Springer, RHP Chad Bradford.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: Who catches -- Dioner Navarro or Kelly Shoppach?

- Ben Zobrist, Sean Rodriguez, Reid Brignac competing at 2B.

- Matt Joyce, Gabe Kapler and Zobrist battle for right field job.

PROJECTED PAYROLL: $72 million.

CANADIAN CONTENT: None

KEEP AN EYE ON: Top prospect RHP Jeremy Hellickson is not scheduled to make roster, but if he impresses and someone falters...

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

KEEP AN EYE ON: Jesus Montero who some compare to Albert Pujols, but won't make the team this spring.

ADDITIONS: RHP Brandon Morrow, RP Kevin Gregg, C John Buck, RHP Merkin Valdez, LHPs Zach Jackson and Dana Eveland, OF Joey Gathright, SS Gonzalez.

DEPARTURES: RHP Roy Halladay, C Rod Barajas, SS Scutaro, RP Brandon League.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: Who is in the rotation, besides Ricky Romero, a healthy Shaun Marcum and Morrow? Candidates include Marc Rzepczynski, Brett Cecil, Dustin McGowan, Brad Mills, David Purcey and Robert Ray.

CANADIAN CONTENT: North Vancouver's Scott Richmond is nursing a right shoulder injury. Next best is Vancouver's Trystan Magnuson at double-A.

PROJECTED PAYROLL: $86 million.

KEEP AN EYE ON: 1B Brett Wallace isn't supposed to be ready for prime time until after the all-star break, but if he shows he can hit and someone shows interest in Lyle Overbay, a trade is possible.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

CHICAGO WHITE SOX

ADDITIONS: LF Juan Pierre, 3B Mark Teahen, INF Omar Vizquel, RP J.J. Putz.

DEPARTURES: RF Jermaine Dye, LF Scott Podsednik, RHP Octavio Dotel, 2B Chris Getz.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: Can Gordon Beckham make the adjustment moving from third to second?

- Can Mark Kotsay and Andruw Jones handle DH duties?

CANADIAN CONTENT: Teahen, whose dad hails from St. Marys, Ont.

PROJECTED PAYROLL: $103 million.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Sergio Santos was converted from infield to the mound in spring of 2009 and has been clocked at 96 m.p.h.

CLEVELAND INDIANS

ADDITIONS: C Mike Redmond, INF Mark Grudzielanek, OF Austin Kearns, OF Shelley Duncan and manager Manny Acta.

DEPARTURES: C Kelly Shoppach, manager Eric Wedge.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: Who starts from this bunch: RHPs Jake Westbrook, Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson, Carlos Carrasco, Hector Rondon and Mitch Talbot, plus LHPs David Huff, Jeremy Sowers and Aaron Laffey?

- Michael Brantley or Trevor Crowe to start in LF?

- Is C Carlos Santana ready?

CANADIAN CONTENT: OF Nick Weglarz of Stevensville, Ont. hit 16 homers and knocked in 65 runs at double-A Akron.

PROJECTED PAYROLL: $65 million.

KEEP AND EYE ON: OF Jordan Brown was triple-A batting champ at Columbus with a .336 average.

MINNESOTA TWINS

ADDITIONS: RHP Carl Pavano, SS J.J. Hardy, DH Jim Thome, 2B Orlando Hudson, RHP Clay Condrey.

DEPARTURES: SS Orlando Cabrera, C Mike Redmond, RP Ron Mahay, CF Carlos Gomez.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: Who makes starting rotation and who gets dealt? Twins have seven in camp with experience: Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, Francisco Liriano, Brian Duensing, Glen Perkins and Pavano.

- Who plays third? Nick Punto, Brendan Harris and Matt Tolbert will keep it warm for prospect Danny Valencia.

CANADIAN CONTENT: Former MVP 1B Justin Morneau of New Westminster, B.C., and Toronto-born RP Jesse Crain.

PROJECTED PAYROLL: $96 million.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Can Jacque Jones make it as a backup.

DETROIT TIGERS

ADDITIONS: RP Jose Valverde, RHP Max Scherzer, RPs Phil Coke, Daniel Schlereth, CF Austin Jackson.

DEPARTURES: CF Curtis Granderson, 2B Placido Polanco, RHP Edwin Jackson, RPs Fernando Rodney, Brandon Lyon.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: Who makes up 1-2 punch at top of the order? Candidates are 2B Scott Sizemore and Jackson -- neither of whom has ever played in majors.

CANADIAN CONTENT: Toronto-born Cale Iorg, at double-A Erie and INF Mike Gosse of Pitt Meadows, B.C., who saw time at triple-A Toledo.

PROJECTED PAYROLL: $100 million to $110 million.

KEEP AN EYE ON: RHP Eddie Bonine could win fifth spot in the rotation.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS

ADDITIONS: OFs Rick Ankiel and Scott Podsednik, C Jason Kendall, 2B Chris Getz, 3B Josh Fields.

DEPARTURES: C Miguel Olivo, RHP Jamey Wright, LHP John Bale, C John Buck, 3B Mark Teahen, 1B Mike Jacobs, OF Coco Crisp.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: Where does offensive threat Alberto Callaspo play, having lost his job to Getz? DH? But that's where Jose Guillen is with his $12-million deal.

PROJECTED PAYROLL: $70 million.

CANADIAN CONTENT: Cambridge's Scott Thorman hit .299 with 19 homers at triple-A Omaha.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Carlos Rosa to get a chance as set-up man for closer Joakim Soria.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

LOS ANGELES ANGELS

ADDITIONS: RHP Fernando Rodney, RHP Joel Pineiro, DH Hideki Matsui.

DEPARTURES: DH Vladimir Guerrero, LHP Darren Oliver, 3B Chone Figgins, RHP Kelvim Escobar, OF Gary Matthews Jr. RHP John Lackey.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: Who replaces Figgins? Brandon Wood at third, either SS Erick Aybar or 2B Maicer Izturis at leadoff?

- Can Matsui play any outfield on shaky knees?

- When will Scot Shields (knee injury) return to the mound.

CANADIAN CONTENT: Waterloo's Terrell Alliman hit .306 at rookie-class Orem.

PROJECTED PAYROLL: $120 million.

KEEP AN EYE ON: INF Freddy Sandoval seeking backup role.

SEATTLE MARINERS

ADDITIONS: LHP Cliff Lee, OF Eric Byrnes, OF Milton Bradley, C Josh Bard, 3B Chone Figgins, RHP Brandon League, 1B Casey Kotchman, 1B Ryan Garko.

DEPARTURES: 1B Russ Branyan, C Kenji Johjima, RHP Carlos Silva, RP Miguel Batista, 3B Adrian Beltre, RHP Brandon Morrow, OF Bill Hall.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: Who starts after Felix Hernandez, Lee and Ryan Rowland-Smith? Ian Snell, Doug Fister, Luke French and Jason Vargas are contenders.

- Who hits first, Ichiro or Figgins?

- Who is second catcher -- Rob Johnson, Adam Moore or Bard?

CANADIAN CONTENT: OF Michael Saunders of Victoria, B.C.

PROJECTED PAYROLL: $90 million.

KEEP AN EYE ON: RP Nick Hill, West Point grad.

TEXAS RANGERS

ADDITIONS: RHPs Colby Lewis and Chris Ray, INF Khalil Greene, DH Vladimir Guerrero, RHP Rich Harden, LHP Darren Oliver.

DEPARTURES: OF Marlon Byrd, 1B Hank Blalock, RHP Kevin Millwood.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: Will OF Josh Hamilton rebound from injury-plagued 2009?

- Who completes rotation after Harden, Scott Feldman, Tommy Hunter and Lewis? Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Brandon McCarthy contending.

CANADIAN CONTENT: Harden of Victoria the opening day starter.

PROJECTED PAYROLL: $58 million.

KEEP AN EYE ON: 1B Justin Smoak, reached triple-A Oklahoma City in his first full pro season.

OAKLAND RANGERS

ADDITIONS: 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff, RHP Ben Sheets, DH Jack Cust, RHP Justin Duchscherer, OF Coco Crisp.

DEPARTURES: INF Adam Kennedy, RHP Brett Tomko, INF Nomar Garciaparra, OF Scott Hairston.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: Who is fifth man? RHP Trevor Cahill, LHP Gio Gonzalez or RHP Vin Mazzaro?

- Can 3B Eric Chavez rebound after two back surgeries?

CANADIAN CONTENT: Mississauga RP Jamie Richmond was at single-A Stockton in 2009.

PROJECTED PAYROLL: $56 million

KEEP AN EYE ON: Joey Devine, coming off elbow surgery, hopes to regain closer role.


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