AL East Preview

Zak Flateau

The 2010 MLB season is getting ready to open up as the Red Sox and Yankees play each other Sunday night on ESPN. With the Red Sox, Yankees, and the Rays in the AL East division one thing is for sure, one great team will miss the playoffs. Many consider the American League East to be the most competitive division in the MLB, as three of the top five teams around the league are situated in the same division. Below is an AL East preview.

First Place – New York Yankees: The former world champions had the best team in the MLB a year ago, and the Yankees’ front office has only improved their offense by trading for former all-star centerfielder Curtis Granderson and acquiring former Yankees’ pitcher Javier Vazquez. They Yankees also added Nick Johnson who is set to take over the DH role for that Yanks and they surly have the best lineup and one of the best pitching staffs in the league.

Second Place – Wild Card – Boston Red Sox: After losing their most prolific power hitter in Jason Bay, the Red Sox looked to compile a team based around pitching and defense. John Lackey received a new contract from the Red Sox and now he is projected to be the third starter behind Josh Beckett and Jon Lester. The Sox also added many defensive minded players in centerfielder Mike Cameron, third baseman Adrian Beltre, and shortstop Marco Scutaro. The Sox have bolstered their pitching staff into the leagues best on paper and have greatly improved their defense.

Third Place – Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays are still a young, small market ball team in the division with two of the biggest spenders in the league. Despite their small market mentality the Tampa Bay Rays are still able to compete against big spenders like the Red Sox and the Yankees. Two years removed from a World Series loss to the Phillies, this may be the Rays’ last chance to win before they need to move players who will be seeking big salaries. Both Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena have their contracts running out at the end of the year and it is unlikely that the Rays will be able to attain these two all-star caliber players.

Fourth Place – Baltimore Orioles: The Baltimore Orioles have improved greatly through the draft and minor acquisitions this offseason. They have one of the best young catchers in all of baseball (Matt Wieters) and they have compiled one of the best young pitching staffs in the majors. They have also reunited themselves with Miguel Tejada as and have added a veteran pitcher to mentor the young guys (Kevin Millwood). Their outfield is also composed of great ball players such as Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. The Orioles seem to be only a few years away for a surprise run such as the Rays made in 2008.

Fifth Place – Toronto Blue Jays: They Blue Jays lost arguable the best pitcher in all of the major leagues last year in Roy Halladay, and although they received a slew of top prospects, they are in no way ready to help the Blue Jays. They also lost their shortstop, Marco Scutaro, after his best season to their rival Red Sox. The Blue Jays are trying to rebuild their team with a strong presence of youth and pitching, and although they are off to a great start they are unlikely to compete for the next few years.