In absence of a boardwalk fortune-telling machine, we can’t predict where all those players will end up, and how the spring training story lines will change. For now, here are 10 sources of intrigue:
BOSTON RED SOX The Red Sox are seeking to become the first team to win consecutive World Series since the 1998-2000 Yankees. They open camp in Fort Myers, Fla., without Kimbrel, the closer they passed over to collect the final three outs of the World Series at Dodger Stadium last fall. Starter Chris Sale came in from the bullpen instead, and this season the Red Sox, despite bringing back almost their entire championship roster, must continue to improvise in relief: They lost Joe Kelly to the Dodgers in free agency, have kept Kimbrel in limbo, and have signed no replacements.
YANKEES In Tampa, Fla., the Yankees have no such worries. They brought back Zack Britton and signed Adam Ottavino, who will join Chad Green, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman to form an imposing bullpen. The Yankees have fully embraced the modern pitching structure, emphasizing quality over quantity from starters. Only Luis Severino worked 180 innings last season, and the newcomer James Paxton — a six-year veteran — has never reached the 162-inning threshold to qualify for an earned run average title.
METS In Port St. Lucie, Fla., the Mets have a similar look. They also signed two veteran relievers — their former closer, Jeurys Familia, and the left-hander Justin Wilson — and traded for the All-Star closer Edwin Diaz. The National League East should be one of baseball’s most competitive divisions, but with Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler at the front of his rotation, the new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen concedes nothing. Van Wagenen has also improved the position-player depth for the Mets, who plan to spread around playing time to finally keep their roster healthy.
MIAMI MARLINS Down the road in Jupiter, Fla., the Marlins changed their uniforms but kept the same dominant color: funereal black. The teardown by Derek Jeter, their chief executive, continued with last week’s trade of J.T. Realmuto, the best catcher in baseball, to Philadelphia for prospects and catcher Jorge Alfaro, who last season became the first player to record more than 130 strikeouts, fewer than 20 walks and no more than 10 home runs in a season. On Tuesday, at least, Jeter did add a catcher with a sterling résumé: his old pal, Jorge Posada, who joined the organization as a special advisor.