Thanks, HBT readers

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I’m back in my fortified compound on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio.  For the first time in a week I’m operating on a respectable night’s sleep. The Winter Meetings are fantastic, but they have to end sometime. Baseball writers aren’t exactly rock stars when it comes to this sort of thing, so if the meetings didn’t end everyone would simply die.

But we survived.  Frankly, I’m not sure how Gleeman, Pouliot, Silva and Short did. They posted about eleventeen hundred things since Monday while I was being a relative slacker. Can’t wait for the disability claims for the carpal tunnel (note: don’t tell those guys we’re going to deny the claims because of some waiver they didn’t know they signed).

And I’ll be damned if you guys didn’t read all of those posts. The last four days were, by far, the biggest four days in the history of HBT in terms of site traffic. You like us, you really like us, and we’re as grateful as we can be that you come back here to get your baseball fix.

Thanks, HBT readers.  You’re the best.

2017 Preview: The American League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East

Boston may have the most talent and, in Mookie Betts, the best player. The Yankees have the best farm system. Baltimore has all the dingers and the best closer. Toronto may have the best collection of heels, at least in the view of fans of the other AL East teams.  The Rays have the best . . . hmm. I’ll get back to you on that.

Anyway, here are our previews for the American League East:

Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.