2010 AL East Preview
Over the last five years, either the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox have won the American League East. Two years ago it was the surprise team of the season—the Tampa Bay Rays—that took the division. Last season saw things get back to normal as the Bronx Bombers won the East and the Sox earned the wild card. In the past five seasons, the norm has been for the wild card team to come from this division. What’s up with this year?
The American League East looks to be once again a battle between the Yankees and Red Sox. The Yanks have added Granderson, Johson and Vazquez to what is already one of the best rosters in the game. The major question for this club has to do with age. None of these guys are getting any younger and last season many of them may have peaked. Still, manager Girardi proved that he knows when to rest and play veteran players, getting the most out of them.
The Boston Red Sox have plenty of proven veterans who are just getting into their prime. The rotation is solid, there’s hitting and speed and the front office and coaching are both first-rate. Jason Bay is a tough loss. He gave the team a lot of pop and David Ortiz needs to get that average back up around .300 while still pounding 20-plus homers. This could be the best rotation in the East. They are a potential first-place team
Last August, the Tampa Bay Rays traded Scott Kazmir, which signaled that the team was focusing on featuring a different pitching staff. With two rookies in the rotation, the group performed better than expected. This is a good club in a division that contains the league’s two most dominant teams. In other words, if either the Yankees or the Red Sox didn’t exist in their present forms, the Rays would have a chance at the post-season. If either of those frontrunners falters, Tampa Bay will be in the mix.
The Baltimore Orioles do seem to be working towards a new era. They possess some of the best young talent around and seem to have a good plan in place. These birds are a season or two away from being a contender but if they can build on what they have they will finally fly back into the mix.
The Toronto Blue Jays have sunk to the bottom after promising to show promise for so many years. There’s talent on board but it is young and the trade of premium starter Roy Halladay finished the team’s two-year dismantling of the pitching staff. There will be plenty of homegrown players from the farm on display this season. It will be a good three to four years before this club can hope to make a mark in this tough division.
The East will either go to the Yankees or the Red Sox with the second-place team securing the wild card. Tampa Bay has a ray of hope for the near future and Baltimore is on the upswing.
2010 American League East Predictions
Projected Order of Finish:
2) Boston Red Sox
3) Tampa Bay Rays
4) Baltimore Orioles
5) Toronto Blue Jays