Once again, this could be the most talented division in baseball. The Yankees and Red Sox are two of baseball's most skilled teams, yet the Tampa Bay Rays are the reigning division champs.
The new-look Red Sox will make a return to the playoffs this year and win the division. There is just too much talent on this team to not be considered one of the favorites, and nobody on the team is a stranger to winning.
A team with a lineup already consisting of Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz added two of the most dangerous bats in baseball with slugger Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, arguably the most well-rounded player in the game. The pitching rotation is stacked as well, with Jon Lester, John Lackey, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
While the pitching staff is not spectacular, the New York Yankees will finish second in the division due to one of the most potent lineups in the game: Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano.
For third in the division, I'm going to go out on a limb and pick the Baltimore Orioles. The O's were one of the most active teams in the offseason adding Mark Reynolds, Derrek Lee, Vladimir Guerrero, J.J. Hardy, Justin Duchscherer and Kevin Gregg. Not to mention, their second baseman and arguably their best player Brian Roberts was injured for most of 2010, and he will be ready to go in 2011.
Also, the Orioles hired new manager Buck Showalter near the end of last season and won 34 of 57 games with him at the helm. If Adam Jones can have a bounceback year and Matt Wieters starts to live up to his potential, Baltimore could be the surprise team of 2011.
The reigning division champion Tampa Bay Rays had an unfortunate offseason losing All-Star Carl Crawford, sensational closer Rafael Soriano and slugger Carlos Pena. While Evan Longoria and David Price still remain intact, the team will have too much competition within the division to make a run this year.
In last place are the depleted Toronto Blue Jays, who lost Roy Halladay last offseason and Vernon Wells and Shaun Marcum this year. Without these cornerstone players, the Jays are not strong enough to make a run in the talented AL East this year.