AD Sportsland: MLB AL East Review
AD Sportsland: MLB AL East Review
The off-season is winding to an official close for all Major League Teams so its time for the optimism that springs anew with the coming of the new season. After all, on Opening Day everybody is tied for first place.
The American League East always has the traditional powers with the deep pockets of any big market team and all the talents that comes with it. First off last year’s trendy pick of the BoSox has a few looming questions that will have to be answered on the field. Can they recover from that historic collapse that may have been the cause for
that major front office shake up? Can Andrew Bailey make the Fenway Faithful forget Papelbon? Can Mark Melacon replace Daniel Bard effectively as an 8th inning stopper? Can Daniel Bard make the transition from power bullpen arm to quality starter? Can Bobby Valentine manage the Sox to the postseason? Those are some of the questions lurking for the Red Sox as the pitchers and catchers make their way to Florida to start spring training.
That being said this is still a power packed lineup from top to bottom and destined to give pitchers fits all season long. The one-two punch at the top of the
order is one of the best in the game in Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. This team should be among the league leaders for runs scored again this season
The Yankees made one of the biggest trades in baseball this off-season in an attempt to solidify their starting rotation when they traded Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda.That move helped give them the second best rotation behind Tampa Bay. The major issues with the Bronx Bombers is father time and the decline that comes with advancing age. Mariano Rivera is still the best but Father Time will end up catching
up to him one day and make him a mere mortal again. A-Rod is 36 and nowhere near the player he was 5 years ago. Jeter will be 38 by the end of the season and his range is starting to show it.They still have one the most exciting players to watch in all of baseball in second baseman Robinson Cano and he headlines a start studded lineup
featuring some of the biggest names in all of baseball.
Tampa Bay is like the little kid in the neighborhood that got tired of getting bullied by the big kids so they fought back. Well now Tampa is not only respected by the bullies but feared by them as well. Their pitching staff is one of the best in baseball and is the best in the division. They actually IMPROVED their staff by calling up Matt Moore. Two power lefties, (Moore, David Price), “Big” Game James Shields and last year’s Rookie of the Year in Jeremy Hellickson. This is a pitching rich team with a surplus of quality starters that can strike fear into the hearts of opposing teams all season long. They also improved their offense without giving up any of their quality arms by signing free
agents Carlos Pens and Luke Scott.This is going to be a team in the
race all season long.
Toronto still has Jose Bautista but they came up short in their quest to find a bat to hit behind him. They really bolstered their bullpen with the addition of Francisco Cordero and the acquisition of Sergio Santos but their bullpen blew 25 saves last year. It’s was a fairly pressing need. They came up short in bidding on international sensation Yu Darvish and enter to the season with young rotation with a lot of potential. They made some improvements but in a division with 3 powerhouse teams those improvements may not have been enough.
Well the Orioles have some major problems that was compounded by the trade that they made to Colorado. They traded their only established starter in Jeremy Guthrie to the Rockies and in the process created competition for ALL five spots in their rotation. They key to their success will be the maturing of their young homegrown starters that
all showed flashes of winning in the majors but not in any type of consistent way. With the AL East being the way it is they are nowhere near ready to compete but maybe they could avoid a 15th consecutive sub .500 season.
This division is Tampa’s to lose.
They have the pop in Longoria and Pena and they have pitching. They have one the favorites in the rookie of the year race in Matt Moore and they have David Price. Their
pitching staff is armed and dangerous and should lead them to a division crown. The improvements that the Yankees made to their pitching to go along with their explosive lineup should keep them right in Tampa’s heels all season long. John Henry and the boys from Beantown better hope Commissioner Selig adds the extra wild card for
this season because they’ll need it to avoid missing the playoffs for a 3rd straight year. Their pitching doesn’t match up to Tampa or New York and they have some pitching issues that have to be sorted out (not who is buying the next round of beer either) in order for them to beat out either one of their rivals.
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