2008 AL East Preview
The American League East continues to be a three-team division, although this season the Tampa Bay Rays could change that. To win the division, a team needs to be loaded both on the field and in their bank account. The Yankees have the highest payroll and the Red Sox the second highest in MLB. Last season, the Yankees outspent the Blue Jays, Orioles and Rays combined. The Rays spend the least amount of cash in the Majors.
First place looks to go to the Red Sox. The club is loaded with pitching and they have a strong group of hitters. The club’s fielding has steadily improved each season and last year they were making plays they had not made in years. Terry Francona, who is 8-0 as a World Series manager, has a new long-term contract and GM Theo Epstein is one of the best in the league.
The Yankees jettisoned Joe Torre and hired Joe Girardi as their new skipper. GM Brian Cashman remains in that position despite his inability to address Yankee pitching woes. New York’s hitters are perhaps the best in the business. The starting rotation looks improved over last season’s but probably not enough to take the team all the way.
The Blue Jays continue to threaten to be a contender and this season, once again, they will threaten. Pitcher Roy Halladay is one of the finest around and the staff is fairly sound. The bullpen is good but not spectacular. Toronto’s defense is fine and the bench is solid. But the club needs help at the plate and DH Frank Thomas is looking shaky on the bases. GM J.P. Ricciardi doesn’t have the cash that the Yanks and Sox have and that really hurts.
The Rays outfield is first-rate and the pitching staff is talented. But there’s not enough experience or depth to enable this club top be competitive. GM Andrew Friedman made some good off-season moves that should help the bullpen and rotation. Everyone keeps saying that Tampa Bay needs a few more years to be a contender. They also need a lot more cash to create the type of club that can compete with Boston, New York and Toronto.
The team from Baltimore will continue to struggle for an eleventh year straight. The good news is that GM Andy MacPhail is looking towards the future and focusing on developing talent. New Manager Dave Trembly will have his hands full as he tries to generate some wins and develop ballplayers simultaneously.
2008 American League East Predictions
Projected Order of Finish:
Click on team name for individual team preview.