Every team starts the season tied for first place, and in baseball anything is possible. For the players and fans there are hopes, and even for some, dreams, that their team will be a top their division at the end of the season. With Opening Day less than a month away, here is how I see the American League East shaping out to be:
1st - Toronto Blue Jays:
No other team had as busy of an offseason as the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays went all in this offseason trading away their top five prospects, in two blockbuster deals.
Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, and Emilio Bonifacio were all acquired from the Marlins, while reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, R.A. Dickey was obtained from the Mets. Besides making two blockbuster deals, the Blue Jays signed veterans Melky Cabrera and Maicer Izturis.
The Blue Jays have the best pitching rotation in baseball and an offense that will be able to score an enormous amount of runs. The Blue Jays will win the American League East, and they will also win the World Series this season.
2nd - Tampa Bay Rays:
The Rays made a huge trade this offseason, trading away James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals for a package of prospects centered around Wil Myers. Even though the Rays trade away two of their better pitchers, they still will be a very competitive team.
In addition to acquiring some talented prospects, the Rays traded for Yunel Escobar and signed Kelly Johnson and James Loney via free agency to shore up their lineup. Roberto Hernandez, Juan Oviedo and Jamey Wright were all added to improve the Rays' pitching staff, that is already one of the best in the game.
The Rays will be an improved team from last season, but the Blue Jays will be to much for the Rays to overtake. Expect the Rays to win one of the AL Wild Cards.
3rd - Baltimore Orioles:
The Baltimore Orioles had a very quiet offseason, and their biggest move was resigning Nate McLouth. In free agency the O's brought in Alexi Casilla, Danny Valencia, Conner Jackson and pitcher Joel Piniero. None of these move were very substantial and none of them will make a significant impact for the Orioles. The key to the Orioles success will be their starting rotation. Expect the Orioles to compete for a Wild Card spot, but do not be surprised if they are not playing in October.
4th - Boston Red Sox:
The Red Sox signed many veteran players this offseason to go along with a very talented core group of players. The Red Sox are full of talent this season, but their season will be determined on if they are able to live up to their potential.
Ryan Dempster, Joel Hanrahan and Koji Uehara were all brought into bolster their pitching staff, that struggled all last season. Veterans Johnny Gomes, Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli were signed this offseason to help add some new life and energy into their lineup.
The Red Sox roster is full of talent, but they have to live up to their potential. If their core group of players are able to remain healthy the entire season, the Red Sox could surprise some people.
5th - New York Yankees:
This offseason the Yankees did not do anything to improve their team. The Yankees signed aging veteran players Ichiro Suzuki, Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner, and Juan Rivera to improve their lineup. Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda were resigned on one-year deals to boast their strong starting rotation, and Mariano Rivera will be back at closer after being injured for most of last season.
There are many questions surrounding the Yankees including their health, who will be their Opening Day catcher, and if these veteran players will be able to produce at a high enough level for them to be competitive. The Yankees will not be able to remain healthy over a 162 games season, and because of that they will finish in the basement of the AL East.