Each week, I'll post a new division, until the season starts
Division Winner: Boston Red Sox - The additions of Mike Cameron, Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro, and John Lackey will turn out to be pretty big additions. Defensively this team is clearly the best in the American League East. Their outfield now only has kind of a liability, in J.D. Drew. The rotation is nasty with Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Clay Buckholz (who may be the best #5 starter in either league this year). Their contingency plan if David Ortiz doesn't perform is brilliant as well, the great hitting Mike Lowell. Then there are the incumbants, Jacoby Ellsbury is the junior member, but Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia are top notch talent. There are some holes near the back of the bullpen, but that's really the only shortcoming on a team that should once again return to the top of the division.
2nd Place: New York Yankees - This should be a really tight two team race (again) this year. The Yankees have added All-Star Centerfielder Curtis Granderson and Javier Vazquez. That makes the front three in this rotation just as good, if not better than any 1-2-3 out there in the league. C.C. Sabathia followed by A.J. Burnett and then Vazquez, that's pretty amazing, throw in Joba Chamberlain and the Yankees only need to find a 5th starter and if Chin-Ming Wang can find his form, then we have an amazing combination. Alex Rodriguez with a full season in front of Mark Teixeira should be fun for Yankee fans this year as well. Offensively they should be pretty solid with there only hole being the inconsistency of Nick Swisher and the injury concerns of DH/1B Nick Johnson and CA Jorge Posada.
3rd Place: Tampa Bay Rays - They are only two years removed from representing the American League in the World Series. Injuries killed them a bit last year and once again they were a team that road the momentum train and it seemed to be a struggle to get it going in the right direction. They may have the fastest outfield in the league with Carl Crawford and B.J. Upton, but it's their powerful infield that has me thinking they may be more than an afterthought. Carlos Pena at first, Ben Zobrist at second, Jason Bartlett at shortstop, and Evan Longoria at third, should amount to approximately 110 home runs by the time the season ends. Their starting pitching is still as strong as before (minus Scott Kazmir). If David Price can finally deliver on his potential, then the rotation would look like this; James Shields, Matt Garza, David Price, Jeff Niemann, and Wade Davis/Andy Sonnastine, although the latter may end up in the bullpen. They answered their closer concerns by adding Rafael Soriano (who hasn't really worked out anywhere, but maybe this time). This team looks good on paper, it's all about momentum when you have a team this young.
4th Place: Baltimore Orioles - The one thing that can't be disputed is that the Orioles or the Blue Jays are going to end up at the bottom of the standings in this division. It's about as sure as Apple Pie, Sweet Caroline in Fenway, or Rudi Giuliani throwing out a first pitch in New York at some point this season. The Orioles seem content with mixing veterans with youth and it's a formula that hasn't worked for years. I'm not sure what adding Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins does for this team, besides make them defensive liabilities and a change of address. I know that if I were an Orioles fan, I'd rather see Josh Bell, Michael Aubrey, and/or Brandon Snyder, and what they could do. At some point the Orioles actually have to do some rebuilding. Their outfield architecture looks good with Adam Jones and Nick Markakis being locks, Nolan Reimold may be a certainty as well, but once again, I'm aching to see Lou Montanez and what he can accomplish. The purpose of bringing Kevin Millwood in, may have been to show the youth how it's done, but that's at the expense of one of a handful of pitching prospects that wont get to see the mound unless there are injuries. This team continues to run backwards, however, they have enough talent on this team (thanks to Millwood, bumping Guthrie down to a two, etc.) to win more games than the Blue Jays will.
5th Place: Toronto Blue Jays - This will only hurt for a moment Toronto fans, this is how you rebuild, trade away your franchise player for some of the best young talent in the league, then trade away some mediocre talent for some more young talent that may turn into greatness. I'm a huge fan of what the Blue Jays did with Halladay. It would have hurt much more to be mired in a mediocrity for another season because your best player handcuffed you again. Instead, they can now grow. Their defense is suspect and may end up being one of the worst in the league this year. Their pitching staff is young and anchored by ace (?) Shaun Marcum. But outside of that, Aaron Hill and Adam Lind make for an interesting power combination that happens to work. Maybe this year Travis Snider turns it around or Vernon Wells stays healthy, or Lyle Overbay does steriods to get the monkey off of his back. But since only one of those is like to come true, Blue Jays fans are stuck in limbo for a season, until Kyle Drabek matures a little bit more, Brandon Morrow stops being a diva, their 4th and 5th pitchers in the rotation gain some consistency. I feel that this is the beginning of a resurgence in Toronto that helps them rise to the top in the next three or four years and back into prominance. The real question is who will they be knocking off?
AL EAST MVP: MARK TEIXEIRA
AL EAST CY YOUNG: JON LESTER
AL EAST ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Brian Matusz
Joeebrew and BrewSports Views