Monday, November 5, 2007
The American League East has always been a competitive division, so I expect them to try and improve in any way possible. The Yankees and Red Sox are obviously on top, but that will not stop the Devil Rays, Orioles, or Blue Jays from making a run. Let's see where they stand:
1. Red Sox
The Red Sox are sitting mighty high on top of the baseball world after winning their second World Series in four years. More importantly, they have won two more World Series' since 2000 than the Yankees have. I do not see too big of improvements here, mainly just improving the bullpen and maybe bringing in another starter. They will probably sign Lowell, but if they don't, I do not expect them to trade for a big name. They think very highly of Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester and do not plan to trade either. They will probably trade Coco Crisp, and probably bring in another Japanese pitcher to team up with Hideki Okajima in the bullpen.
The Yankees lost their manager, coaching staff, and best player in baseball in a single month. Although they brought in Joe Girardi, they still need to make upgrades. I expect them to go big for Miguel Cabrera, and try and sign a pair of young pitchers. They could always trade for Johan Santana, but their is no reason to unload their whole minor league system. They are transforming into a young team again, and should look to bring in younger, developing players to lead this team in the next year or so. For first base, Eric Duncan seems like a good choice to offer the spot to in Spring Training, or else platoon with someone else. Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part, but a lot of teams are successful with sticking with their young players, and I think the Yankees might finally try it out.
3. Blue Jays
The Blue Jays struck out last year in landing proven pitching. Their outfield is weak and they could use a solid reliever to help out the bullpen. Don't rule out an Eric Gagne signing for the Blue Jays. The Canadian would probably take a two year deal to return home. Also, they could trade for outfielder Jason Bay, who happens to be Canadian as well, to play left field. That is setting up a solid outfield with Bay, Wells, and Rios. From there, the pitching market is weak but taking a chance on someone out there is not a bad move. They will not take the division in 2008, but could begin to change the face of the team if they pull off my moves.
The Orioles need to clean house. They need to trade away just about everything and get a boatload of prospects in return. I mean trade: Bedard, Tejada, Mora, Roberts, Millar, and Hernandez. Build around Nick Markakis, because he is the only one that will get better. It will only be a couple years then that you will be fighting for the Wild Card while the aging Yankees fight to hang on.
5. Devil Rays
It all starts with the outfield. What they need to do is trade Carl Crawford for a star pitcher, and rebuild from there. I mean, move B.J. Upton to third base, move Iwamura to second base, and Brendan Harris to shortstop. Then you have Baldelli in left, Dukes in center, and Young in right field. Then once Johan Santana is dealt, put Kazmir on the market to the teams who missed out on Santana and receive a boatload of prospects in return. From there, lock up Carlos Pena and make a move on one of the free agent catchers. I say either Michael Barrett or Yorvit Torrealba. Gomes deserves another chance at DH, but maybe it would be smart to give a role like that to a veteran, maybe Barry Bonds?