So much for that coronation. After noticing some "errors in computation," the stats whizzes at Baseball Prospectus adjusted their PECOTA projections.
And rather than winning the AL East with an MLB-best 96-66 record, the Rays are now pegged for third, at 92-70.
The Red Sox and Yankees are projected to finish 93-69.
METS: Utilityman Frank Catalanotto, a 13-year veteran, signed a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training. Catalanotto, 35, hit .278 with a .346 on-base percentage and a .382 slugging percentage in 77 games last season for the Brewers.
PIRATES: Owner Bob Nutting declined to listen to separate proposals to buy the team last year, including a surprise bid from Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, the Associated Press reported. Pittsburgh lawyer Chuck Greenberg, a successful minor-league team owner whose holdings once included a Pittsburgh farm club, made several inquiries about the club before joining Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan in a successful bid to buy the Rangers.
TWINS: Newcomers Jim Thome and J.J. Hardy made their first public appearance in Minnesota this weekend at the team's annual fan festival, signing autographs, taking pictures and doing interviews for an event that attracts more than 20,000 visitors every year.
Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report.