Tag:Tampa Bay Rays
Posted on: April 3, 2009 3:13 pm

Red Sox, Yankees, or the Rays

The AL East is probably the best division in baseball and if you don't think so I would like to here which you think is better. You have the 26 time champion New York Yankees. Then there is the 2004 and 2007 World Series champion Red Sox. Lastly, you have last years division champs filled ith young talent in the Tampa Bay Rays. Not to mention the Toronto Blue Jays led by ace pitcher Roy Halladay and the Baltimore Orioles with often talked about youg prospect catcher Matt Weiters who has a chance at rookie of the year depending on when they bring him up to the Bigs.

Last years AL East standings finished as follows:

  1. Tampa Bay Rays: 97-65 (division winner)
  2. Boston Red Sox: 95-67 (wildcard winner)
  3. New York Yankees: 89-73
  4. Toronto Blue Jays: 86-76
  5. Baltimore Orioles: 68-93

The Rays who were used to sitting at the bottom of the standings shocked baseball by beating out both the Yankees and Sox to take the division title and making it to the World Series. The big question is do they have what it takes to stay towards the top of the AL East. Led by Third basemen Evan Longoria and power hitting Carlos Pena they have the talent. They also have a huge amount of depth at pitching with a starting rotation of Scott Kazmir, James Shields, Matt Garza, Andy Sonnanstine, and probably Jason Hammel. They may not have the Sabathia's or Beckett's but they still have talent as we saw last year.

The Yankees who added a ton of a talent in the offseason are going to be a force to reckon with. After blowing huge amounts of money on Mark Texiera, CC Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett they are going to be a better team all around. Although they have the best batting lineup on paper and one of if not the best pitching rotation I think there are some big speed bumps in the road still. With Alex Rodriguez out until at least May and Burnett who seems to be always injured they may have some health problems. They struggle with depth so if they get a few people injured at once they could hit a losing streak.

Lastly, the Red Sox who made a few small offseason acquisitions will be in the hunt as well. All teams achilles heel seems to be there bullpen so that is exactly what the Red Sox worked on this offseason. They got Takashi Saito and Ramon Ramirez whoa re very good middle relievers. Led by Jonathan Papelbon at closer and Justin Masterson who is a very good setup man as well. They have a great right side of the infield with last years AL MVP in Dustin Pedroia and first basemen Kevin Youkilis. Also an outfield full of potential. They have also have great depth in the field and on the mound.

Those are 3 great teams and any of them could easily take the title. I see the AL East giving out 2 playoff teams like it usually does with the division winner and the wildcard. This may be partly because they are my favorite team but I really do think the Sox will win the division this year. Their bullpen is so strong and with a great first 3 starters and now Brad Penny I think they will dominate the mound. I also think Jason Bay will have a huge power year and Jacoby Ellsbury will steal 50+ bases.

As for the wildcard i think it will depend on which team can stay more healthy. I think if they both stay healthy it will be the New York Yankees, but I think that is asking to much so I like the Tampa Bay Rays to win the wildcard by 2 games. I think Burnett will be injured down the stretch and CC doesn't have clutch stuff like we have seen in the playoffs before. Scott Kazmir will pitch extremley well and will be an AL Cy Young candidate in my mind. This is a great division loaded with talent and I like Red Sox to win it led by young cancer survivor and who I think will be this years Cy Young in Jon Lester. You could pick one of these 3 out of a hat and have the division winner so yes it is a toss up, but that is why you have to choose the team with the most depth so injuries don't hurt them as much so in my mind that is why it is the Boston Red sox.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com