AL East Preview: Orioles and Blue Jays over Red Sox and Yankees


By Enrique Rivera

If there is any season that can pass by without the Yankees or Red Sox garnering all the attention in the AL East, the 2013 season could be it.

With powerhouse Alex Rodriguez out until June and skepticism of Derek Jeter’s health, the Yankees do not seem to be the favorite anymore.

Of course they still have a healthy pitching ace in C.C. Sabathia, a healthy dominant closer Mariano Rivera, bombers Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson but will that be enough? They did sign former rival Kevin Youkilis in the offseason but skeptics are saying that the team is too old and getting washed up compared to other AL Eastern teams.

After a nightmare season for the Boston Red Sox the staff feels much more confident this year with a new skipper and players.

The Red Sox hired former Blue Jays manager John Farrell as the team’s new skipper. The team also signed pitcher Ryan Dempster, backup catcher David Ross, infielders Stephen Drew and Mike Napoli, and outfielder Shane Victorino.

Although these are not star caliber names, they are players who have the potential to have a big season. The Red Sox have big named prospects as well such as Allen Webster and Jose Iglesias.

Also, if John Lackey, Jon Lester and Clay Bucholz can be as effective as they were a couple of years ago, I think they are poised to pass the Yankees.

Now, what about the defending wild card champion, Baltimore Orioles? To me, there my favorites to win the division.

The Orioles have a nice looking roster that gave the Yankees a scare last year.

The only flaw is letting go of power-house Mark Reynolds, but all seems well as they have their young power-house Manny Machado.

With a nice lineup and a resurrected Nate McClouth, manager Buck Showalter seems to be ready to win the division this year.

The Toronto Blue Jays had arguably the best offseason this year.

The team added defending NL CY Young award winner R.A. Dickey. They made moves with the Marlins to acquire star shortstop Jose Reyes along with pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle. The team still has slugger Jose Bautista on the roster as well.

The Blue Jays had a Yankee-type offseason, expect them to fight for the division pennant with the Orioles.

The Tampa Bay Rays have the least intimidating roster in the division.

They let go of pitching ace James Shields as the team now has to rely on their prospects to act as veterans.

Credit them for still having star Evan Longoria but it should not be enough to even compete for fourth place.

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