The Red Sox already had their work cut out for them in their own division as they attempt to dig out from the worst season in recent franchise history.
The Yankees remain formidable, having qualified for the playoffs four years running with two 100-win seasons in the last two full-length seasons.
The Tampa Bay Rays posted the best record in the American League and took the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers to Game 6 of the World Series.
That would be competition -- and worry -- enough for the Red Sox. Even as the Yankees have temporarily curtailed spending in the aftermath of significant financial losses, they're still a powerhouse, with a roster full of stars (Gerrit Cole, Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman) and a rebuilt farm system. And the Rays, who traditionally have done more with less, are positioned to compete for the foreseeable future.
Now, though, there are signs that they may have a third team in the American League East over which they'll have to leap. Though they've been quiet so far this winter, the Toronto Blue Jays are sending signals that they're ready to engage with the division powerhouses.