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The American League East waits for no one

Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval poses with a man in a panda bear costume at Fenway Park.
Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval poses with a man in a panda bear costume at Fenway Park. (Greg M. Cooper, USA Today Sports)

Nobody should be surprised that the Orioles' American League East competitors are driving the free-agent market right now. That's not exactly a new concept, and it isn't necessarily reason for alarm.

The Boston Red Sox had to move quickly after their 2014 collapse, and only time will assess the wisdom of giving the mercurial Hanley Ramirez $22 million per year for four years after he played more than 100 games just once in the last four seasons. Pablo Sandoval is definitely a winner, but it's also fair to wonder whether he's worth $100 million over five years when he has hit more than 20 homers and driven in more than 80 runs in a season once in his career.

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Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays keep spending big money to no good outcome. Maybe this will be the year they finally break through with the help of $82 million catcher Russell Martin, but everybody thought that was going to happen last year, and they barely finished above .500.

The big question is whether the New York Yankees come out of their self-imposed free-agent exile and make a big play for one of the top free-agent starters. That's the buzz in New York right now, but it's probably wishful thinking.

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