2009 AL East Preview

Thursday, April 02, 2009

And finally on to the big boys.

1. New York Yankees

And the money comes off the books and the money goes on the books. With boatloads of cash going away in the offseason the Yankees decided it was a good idea to give 3 guys cash worth about 1/2 of the stadium costs, or something similarly ludicrous. With that money spent they are once again the division, AL, and MLB favorites. But what about the aging superstars? CC's knack for shitty October starts? AJ's fragile elbow? The Yanks are no lock for the playoffs and certainly no lock for 100 games as some are proclaiming. That being said, homerism is picking them to win the division.

Key Player: Mariano Rivera, The bullpen lacks depth and lacks a true replacement if anything ever happened to Mo. The Yankees however have a replacement on staff, he's just in the starting rotation. They've already said that if anything happens to Mo that Joba will be inserted in the closers roles which is a miserable idea. Tugging the kid around would absolutely crush his progression as a big league player.

Player to Eye: Robinson Cano, Many Yankee fans and Fantasy Owners were scorned by Robby last year. But don't jump off the bandwagon my dear friend. He's still 26, he's having a good spring, he's supposedly in better shape, and there's no god damn way he has as bad of an April as last season. It's impossible.

Record Prediction: 95-67

2. Boston Red Sox

Yay, Boston. [vomit] The Sox spent the offseason scouring the DL to pick up pitchers that potentially could be undervalued. When they found one they added them to their collection. Saito, Penny, and Smoltz all fit the category. With that being said the Sox rotation is stellar and their lineup is gutsy, smart and talented. However, if I was a Sox fan I would be a little bit concerned with the potential that Pedroia and Youk will never be better than they were in 2008. Regressions from two of their most important players plus the natural aging of David Ortiz would put a lot of pressure on the Canadian, Silent Jay.

Key Player: David Ortiz, Big man hit just 23 home runs last year and was shelved for 7 weeks during the middle of the season. Despite the emergences of Bay, Youk and Pedroia, he's still the most important hitter in the lineup and the most feared. His age and propensity to break down are worrisome for any Sox fan even with his mashing in the spring. Without Ortiz and without Manny, this lineup isn't something to be afraid of.

Player to Eye: John Smoltz, Imagine on September 1st the Red Sox have a healthy Lester, Beckett, Penny, Dice-K and John Smoltz. Ahhhhhh, run away. That'll be scary good. SCARY!!! Smoltz may be old and his status may be in question this year, but in 07 he had a 3.11 ERA in a full damn season. If he's that than the Sox will be a frightening postseason team.

Record Prediction: 94-68

3. Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays shocked the world in 2008 and took home the AL Pennant. This season they won't be sneaking up on anyone. Everyone knows they will be a solid squad. The questions really surround whether their rotation can stay healthy as it did last year. Will their youngsters stay status quo, improve, or regress? And will the offseason improvements of the Yankees and Red Sox be too much for the Rays to stay in front?

Key Player: Evan Longoria, In just his sophomore year, Longoria will be expected to have another great season and anchor the middle of the Rays lineup. He's got the skills to progress even further but sometimes the Sophomore jinx just smacks you in the face. If the jinx is in the Rays are out.

Player to Eye: B.J. Upton, Upton will be an incredibly intriguing player this year. Last year in the regular season his power was incredibly disappointing but his speed was tremendous. Than in the postseason he amped up the power a few notches and was tearing the cover off the ball. Was October merely a hot streak or is the power going to be flaunted consistently over a 162 game season.

Record Prediction: 88-74

4. Toronto Blue Jays

When 3 of your starting five from the previous season are no longer on your roster than you are in trouble. Especially when you don't go out into the market and replace them. Burnett obviously left via free agency. McGowan and Marcum are both injured with Marcum done for the year and McGowan expected to be back in June. They replaced those David Purcey, Ricky Romero, and Scott Richmond. Or Who? Who? And Who? Being in the same division as the Rays, Sox and Yanks will only make this season worse.

Key Player: Vernon Wells, Big ole Vernon is usually on a even schedule. On even years he has solid years. On odd years he sucks. Well that's the way it seems to work. Last year, when he was actually on the field he was solid. .300 and 20 homers in just 108 games. If the odd jinxes come back and he has a piss poor season like his .245 shit show and just 16 homers in 07, than the Blue Jays just might finish dead last in the East.

Player to Eye: Roy Halladay, He's the only pitcher you actually know on the roster, so why is he the player to eye? Cause he gon' get traded. Why wouldn't he really? Look at the Blue Jays roster, there is no foreseeable hope. They are in the best division in baseball and have two massive spenders and a team with ample youth talent ahead of them. They need to play catch up. They need top prospects. They need to trade their best chip to acquire lots of little seeds with chance to grow.

Record Prediction: 73-89

5. Baltimore Orioles

I think I'm being generous with the amount of wins I'm divying out cause their rotation is flat out embarrassing. Jeremy Guthrie is a solid MLB pitcher but far from a staff ace. After Guthrie the O's will throw Koji Uehara described by some as the Japanese Brad Radke (oh YAY!), Mark Hendrickson with his 5.00 ERA, Adam Eaton, and some kid named Alfredo Simon. Good name, probably bad pitcher. All in all, the Oreos have essentially no chance to make the postseason.

Key Player: Adam "Not Pacman" Jones, The Oreos will need someone to step up and help out Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts in the lineup. "Not Pacman" has the skillset to do it and the Oreos need him to produce.

Player to Eye: Koji Uehara, Calling someone the Japanese Brad Radke screams, "WOW THIS GUY IS GOING TO SUCK BALLS!!!!!". Anybody have Kei Igawa on their minds other than me? He's in the Oreos rotation for good, and he better be closer to Kaz Ishii than Kei Igawa.

Record Prediction: 66-96

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