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Offseason winners and losers: American League

Yes, it's that time of year. There still are some interesting names out there on the free-agent market, but it's time to assess who did what.

As always, we divide our teams (let's do just the American League today) into four categories: Winners, winners with downside, losers with upside and losers.

Here we go:

WINNERS

1. Tampa Bay. As usual. The Rays didn't give up any of their pitching depth while bringing in worthwhile one-year investments Carlos Pena and Luke Scott as well as veteran catcher Jose Molina.

2. Toronto. There was much scuttlebutt early on that they would spend big on a free agent; I predicted they would sign Prince Fielder. That didn't happen, but their hoarding of reasonably priced relievers was a most intreresting strategy that will either help keep  the Blue Jays in contention or give them myriad trade chips in July.

WINNERS WITH DOWNSIDE

1. Detroit. Of course, the Fielder contract was excessive, and there's the downside. But Fielder has been an iron man and he's a good clubhouse guy, and I'd much rather have the Tigers' agreement with Fielder than the Angels' with Albert Pujols.

2. Angels. Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson will make the team considerably better, and will help, too. Man oh man, though, is that Pujols contract a doozy.

3. Yankees. I totally understand trading Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos, but the Yankees will be the first to tell you what a high-risk move this is. Hiroki Kuroda is a good one-year buy.

And let's not forget, getting CC Sabathia to extend his existing contract by just one year was a tribute to how comfortable they had made Sabathia feel during his first three years.

4. Oakland. They took considerable steps backward, short-term, in trading Trevor Cahill (to Arizona) and Gio Gonzalez (to Washington). Yet people smarter than me think the A's did well in those deals, and the Yoenis Cespedes acquisition could be a boon. The downside, of course, comes in the chance that not enough of these kids - Cespedes and those obtained in the trades - deliver.

5. Texas. Both of their big moves, Yu Darvish and Joe Nathan, were high-risk, high-reward.

LOSERS WITH UPSIDE

1. Boston. They experienced the most torrential winter of any team in baseball, and they have significant questions in the back of their starting rotation and at shortstop and rightfield. So where's the potential upside? New manager Bobby Valentine was an exciting hire, even though I'm not sure what he achieved - besides getting a few laughs - with his words about the Yankees.

2. White Sox. They didn't do much of interest in the way of player moves, and thought out of the box in hiring the inexperienced Robin Vetura as manager. However, maybe the relaxed Vetura will be the perfect antidote to the departed, frenetic Ozzie Guillen.

3. Kansas City. Maybe dealing Melky Cabrera for Jonathan Sanchez will work out. At the least, the Royals get some creativity points for that one.

4. Seattle. They wound up pretty much not spending at all, eh? It would have been nice for Montero if the Mariners had made other moves to take the onus off Montero. But Montero could turn out to be pretty darn good.

LOSERS

1. Baltimore. A horribly executed search for a new general manager concluded in surprising fashion, as Dan Duquette returned from exile. He didn't do much of interest, and there's little reason to think the Orioles can climb out of the AL East cellar.

2. Cleveland. The Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez imbroglio and Grady Sizemore's injury issues put them in this column; the Indians re-signed Sizemore over the winter. 

3. Minnesota. The Twins, who brought back ultra-respected GM Terry Ryan, have surprised us many times before, and it wouldn't surprise me if we were surprised again, if that makes sense. As we sit here now, however, I can't offer praise of Josh Wililngham, Jamey Carroll and a Matt Capps re-signing.

We'll do the National League tomorrow.

--Here's my column from Port St. Lucie yesterday on Terry Collins.

--If there's reason to check in later today, I'll check in later today.

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