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Ranking the Top Three (As of January 21, 2009)

Author: Aaron Marcus

I have decided to only rank the top three teams in the American League East, because frankly these three teams are the only teams that matter.  Sorry Oriole and Blue Jay Fans.

1. Tampa Bay Rays

After winning the American League East and Pennant last year, the Tampa Bay Rays are poised to repeat as AL East champs.  The stellar pitching that broke out last year is only going to get better with the addition of David Price.  This Tampa Bay team has the potential to have a winning team for years to come, and they still need to vindicate themselves as a threat with winning season this year.  If they don’t want all of Major League Baseball to laugh them off the same way they laughed off the Rockies after their Series appearance, Tampa needs to come out swinging and winning.  Their offense should remain solid, losing no key players while acquiring the bat and leadership of Pat Burrel.  This Tampa team may be better that last year.  With the right mix of speed, power and pitching, Tampa should repeat as AL East champs.


2. New York Yankees

The Yankees may be the best team in baseball going into the year.  The reason why I have placed them behind the Rays it is not yet proven that they will mesh and play together like team.  Their starting rotation, even with the best number 1, 2 and 3 punch in baseball still needs help.  Joba is not lock to stay healthy and the number five spot is still in question.  If the Yankees bullpen doesn’t implode they should have a great pen, paired with a decent starting pitching rotation, the Yanks should have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball.  No one should worry about the Yankees offense, Damon, Jeter, Teixeira, A-Rod is undoubtedly the best top four in baseball.  If Posada and Matsui can have comeback season expect this Yankees team to lead the league in runs, OPS and homeruns.  This Yankees team by far has the most talent in the league, the question is whether or not they’ll be able to blend not only talent, but egos and win the way the Yankees are meant to win.


3. Boston Red Sox

A dismal offseason, followed by the whiplash reaction of buying two washed up pitchers in Brad Penny and John Smoltz.  The Red Sox should have a healthy Mike Lowel, and are still a top three team in the American League.  The only problem this year is that the Yankees are stacked with talent, the Rays are stacked with talent and the Sox just happen to not be as equipped to make the playoffs.  If the Sox, Yanks or Rays were in any other division, they would each flat out win that division.  However, it seems as if over the next few years one of these three teams will be the odd-man out of the playoff picture.  This year it seems as if that team will be the Sox.  Their pitching is getting older, Smoltz has a bad back and arm, and the Red Sox don’t need leaders, since they have Youklis and Reigning AL MVP Dustin Pedroia.  Big Papi gets older every day, and should see less plate appearances this year.  Look for his average to drop even more as well.  Becket and Matsuzaka are a fine one, two punch.  However, followed by Lester, Penny/Wakefield and Smoltz is if anything an average rotation. Expect a solid season from Jason Bay since he is in a contract year.  But for all those Yankee fans out there, don’t worry too much about the Sox this year.  The Yankees have stacked their team with so much talent, the Red Sox won’t be anything other than a nuisance this year.




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