Potential Opening Day Lineup
Potential Opening Rotation
The Blue Jays added a ton of new pieces last year, but definitely did not live up to expectations. Toronto finished last in the AL East, and things just seemed to never click. You could blame the disappointment on numerous things; R.A. Dickey's inconsistency, Jose Reyes fighting off injuries, and just flat out bad play. Throughout it all though Jose Bautista remained the one constant. He had his struggles just like the rest of the team, but he was by far the most consistent player for the Blue Jays last season. The Blue Jays still have the pieces to make a nice playoff run, but it all comes down to putting all those pieces together and making them work. I could see the Blue Jays winning a Wild Card, but i just don't believe we'll see that consistency from Toronto just yet.
The story with the Orioles this year is can Chris Davis put up monster numbers like he did last year? I just don't think so. Baltimore has some talent in other places, like All-Star outfielder Adam Jones, but the majority of their offense ran through Davis last year, and the reason why they didn't make it to the playoffs last year was because other teams figured out how to cool off Chris Davis. I could be wrong though. Chris Davis could remain an AL power and guide the Orioles to a playoff birth. I believe that every team in the AL East has a chance to make the playoffs with their talent, and the Orioles are no exception. The only thing holding back the Orioles, as well as the Blue Jays and Yankees, is themselves. If Baltimore can put all of the pieces together I wouldn't doubt seeing them in October.
The Tampa Bay Rays are one of the most consistent teams in baseball. They are always in contention for the AL East title, and if not that an AL Wild Card spot. However, this year may be different. Former Cy Young Award winning pitcher David Price signed a 1-year deal to avoid arbitration back in January, but rumors about the Rays trading him have only continued to expand since. Price is only 28 years-old, and could garner a lot more trade speculation when the season starts, but for right now all of this is just off-season trade rumors. With Price the Rays are an AL contender. Without Price the Rays are still an AL contender, but will need to rely more on the bat of Evan Longoria and will need to find a true "Ace" pitcher. Overall the Rays are going to be a pretty solid team, but it will be interesting to see whether the David Price rumors and distractions have an impact on this season.
The Yankees have spent over $450 million dollars this offseason to bring big time free agents to New York, but will that be enough to swing them to a World Series title? We'll leave that up to them. What we do know is that "on paper" the Yankees have one of the best rosters in the majors. Brian McCann was a highly sought after free agent at catcher, but where the real asset of this acquisition may come in McCann being a DH. Its well known that McCann is has one of the best bats in the league, so New York will not only have a great catcher in McCann, but also a nice DH as well.
Other than McCann everyone else that the Yankees acquired will just have to fit in their spots as the season goes along. The Yankees have concerns at 2nd and 3rd base, and could have issues at SS depending on the health of Derek Jeter. Jeter continues to operate like a machine this late in his career, but last year we saw him get a few chinks in his armor. Jeter will be forever remembered as one of the greatest Yankees of all time, but right now he is a concern for rebuilding New York squad. Best case scenario is that the Yankees play like the Yankees and flaunt their wallets all the way to the AL East crown. Worst case scenario would be like the Blue Jays last year, acquiring all those big names and not living up to any of the expectations set in front of them.
Last year was a huge swing and miss for us on this one. Not only did the Red Sox prove us wrong, they proved all of Major League Baseball wrong when they won the World Series in six games against the St. Louis Cardinals. John Farrel put together a magical 1st season leading the Red Sox to the World Series, and this year they look to continue that trend. The Red Sox return a majority of their lineup from last year, but will have to make up for the losses of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jacoby Ellsbury to free agency. Despite those losses look for the Red Sox to once again be a contender for the American League and the World Series.