The American League East: The Most Competitive Division in Baseball in 2008

Jeff RuthContributor IApril 6, 2008

The American League East looks to be really competitive this year, which is why I'm going to try and predict who will do what this year in the The East.

Boston Red Sox: (96-66 in 2007)

World Series Winners last year, the Sox will try and defend their crown in 2008.
They are more or less, the same team from last October. So, expect things to be pretty typical in Bean town. They spent their off-season re-signing Mike Lowell and Curt Schilling. For a 3 year deal and 1 year deal, respectively.  Dustin Pedroia will still ignite the top of the order and don't overlook Jacoby Ellsbury who will look to dethrone Coco Crisp from his perch in Center Field. Manny will be Manny, and Papi will be Papi. Although Manny's contract ends at the end of the year and the Sox have an option on him. It will be interesting to see if that option is picked up. Although, in all likelihood it will be. First place finish for the Sox.

Acquisitions: Dan Kolb, David Aardsma from CWS,
Losses: Eric Gagne, Matt Clement, Eric Hinske, Royce Clayton.
Re-signings: Mike Lowell, Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield (Exercised Option), Javier Lopez, Kevin Youkilis, Mike Timlin, Bobby Kielty.

Toronto Blue Jays: (83-79 in 2007)

If anyone is going to pose a threat to the Yankees or Red Sox in 08' it's going to be Toronto. While not re-tooling much in terms of picking up new pieces in the offseason, they are banking on key players returning from injuries sustained in the 2007 season. Vernon Wells, Roy Halladay, BJ Ryan, AJ Burnett, the list goes on and on. This can be a fearsome team when all of their chips are healthy its just a matter of keeping them that way. This year, expect Toronto to barely finish ahead of the Yankees as the race for second gets exciting come September. Expect a bit of a youth movement up north this year also as they have alot of good, young Arms and 3 catchers all vying to take the position from Gregg Zaun.

Acquisitions: Scott Rolen, David Eckstein, Rod Barajas, Marco Scutaro, Shawn Camp.
Losses: Troy Glaus, Josh Towers.
Re-signings: Matt Stairs, Sal Fasano

New York Yankees: (94-68 in 2007)

Winners of Nine straight AL East crowns leading up to last year, they couldn't vault over the Red Sox in 2007. Despite being the hottest team in the majors after the All-Star Break. Despite making it to the postseason as a wildcard, they cut ties with Manager Joe Torre ending his 11 year tenure there. Look for the Bombers to play like they have something to prove in 2008 under new manager Joe Girardi. 2008 also, will likely mark more playing time for the Yankees young pitchers considering this is the contract year for Mike Mussina and Andy Pettite likely will retire at the end of the season. Philip Hughes (who has been compared to a young Roger Clemens) and Joba Chamberlain should have break out years this year. All in all though its not enough as the Red Sox fend off the Jays and the Bombers and take the A.L. East Crown again in 2008.

Acquisitions: Latroy Hawkins, Morgan Ensberg, Chris Woodward.
Losses: Joe Torre, Roger Clemens, Doug Mientkiewicz, Ron Villone, Luis Vizcaino.
Re-Signings: Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettite, Robinson Cano, Bobby Abreu (Exercised Option), Jose Molina.

Tampa Bay Rays: (66-96 in 2007)

While residing in the AL East basement most of last year, expect alot of changes this year in Tampa Bay. The first one being the obvious, they dumped the Devil from their names and are now known as the "Rays". Which doesn't make much sense to me as Tampa Bay Rays now seems like a tongue twister. But, this is a good young team that will close the gap that Toronto, Boston and New York have over them and Baltimore. With the pickups of Matt Garza and Cliff Floyd, expect the Rays to compete in 2008. Garza gives them the 1-2 punch they've been salivating over since acquiring Scott Kazmir. And with the sudden re-emergence of Carlos Pena last year, they have the power bat they needed to compliment the lightning fast Carl Crawford. But the acquisition of Matt Garza meant the departure of Delmon Young, which i think hurts just as much as Garza helps. But like i said, expect alot of changes, players you've never heard of, and new uniforms in 2008. Although, none of its enough as this club finishes about 10 or so games behind the Bombers in fourth place.

Acquisitions: Matt Garza, Cliff Floyd, Troy Percival, Mike DiFelice.
Losses: Delmon Young, Elijah Dukes, Brendan Harris, Jae-Seo.
Re-signings: Al Reyes.

Baltimore Orioles: (69-93 in 2007)

The Orioles barely managed to survive not finishing in the basement of the AL East in 2007, the Devil Rays managed that uh...i guess you could say, feat. With that said, expect this to be one of the worst years in Oriole history in Baltimore. When Erik Bedard was traded to Seattle they lost their Ace of the rotation and any chance they had at competing in 2008. While they lost Kris Benson, his departure doesn't mean much as he spent most of 2007 on the DL. Their Acquisitions do nothing for them in terms of making up for the calibur of players they lost this off-season. This team personifies the term youth movement and just like the Rays, expect to hear alot of names you've never heard from the O's this year, the only difference is there are no sluggers or pitchers to rectify them to contention in 2008. The Verdict? They'll be dead and buried by July.

Acquisitions: Adam Jones, Matt Albers, Luke Scott, Chris Roberson, Steve Trachsel, Victor Santos.
Losses: Erik Bedard, Kris Benson, Miguel Tejada, Jaret Wright, Victor Zambrano.

2008 Standings:

Boston Red Sox - (97-65)

New York Yankees - (91-71)

Tampa Bay Devil Rays - (82-80)

Baltimore Orioles - (68-94)


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