Unwarranted Predictions For an Unlikely 2011 MLB Season: AL East (Humor)

Matt RichardsContributor IJanuary 13, 2011

SEATTLE - JULY 23: Kevin Youkilis #20 of the Boston Red Sox fields a ground ball by Milton Bradley of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on July 23, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Red Sox are my sleeper pick.

This prediction comes in spite of their heavy losses in sluggers Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre.

The Red Sox, though, offset those losses by adding power hitting 1B Adrian Gonzalez, filling their gaping hole at the position, as Kevin Youkilis was not getting the job done.  Now Youkilis has been kicked over to the other side of the diamond where he will have a difficult time adjusting to a position he’s played at for only 1,606 innings his career.

In addition, Boston lured Carl Crawford over with the promise that he can play in a place without the fear of being overshadowed.  He will fit in nicely in left field.

Never has an underdog had such an established roster. 

A big issue with the 2010 team was their amount of injuries, spread nicely over the course of the season so as not to look suspicious.

Furthermore, the Red Sox starting rotation, looking for a boost, will get one when John Lackey is encouraged by the organization to wear Curt Schilling’s bloody sock, but not the famous one. 

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Thanks to David Ortiz’s terrific second half of the season (after hitting .054 through June), the Red Sox will overcome their demons and end the curse, reaching the playoffs for the first time in two years. 

Finally, sensing their similarities to their rivals in New York, the Red Sox will decide to find a new rival, and it will be BP oil.  Now aren’t you back on their side? 


The Toronto Blue Jays will finally reach their potential and finish second. 

With their mighty sluggers, the Jays will fight for the wild card.  They will be led by Jose Bautista, who was consistent in 2010 and consistently mediocre every year before that. 

Based on Bautista’s incredible performance last season, the Jays will bank on the same happening in 2011 to one of their other mediocre hitters with at least moderate power, or all of them.  My pick is Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, and Travis Snider.  And Jose Bautista, who will prove that last season was the true baseline of his stardom.  He will hit 73.1 home runs next season, breaking Barry Bonds’ single season mark by 0.1 after the league simply decides to give it to him because “it’s the right thing to do.” 

Behind the budding strength of their starting rotation, the Blue Jays will thrive, breaking the .500 barrier for the first time since—wait, they’ve been over .500 four of the last five years. 

Correction, behind their young starting pitchers, the Blue Jays will develop higher expectations, sure to come back to bite them in the long run. 

Also, their bullpen will learn to be more apathetic.  Blown saves will follow.

The outlook for the 2010 Toronto Blue Jays is a bright one, for the first time since whenever they will become relevant (or whatever).


Behind a new youth movement and a commitment to not spending money they don’t have, the Tampa Bay Rays will ride a wave of success to third place

Their imminent third place finish will be a drop from last year’s second place finish, but it will be seen as a vast improvement to their predicted sixth place finish.

The departure of Carlos Pena, who will be considered by many to be the “missing piece,” will open up a spot for Dan Johnson, who will wow fans with his .198 batting average. 

He will depart the next season with a $10 million deal with the Cubs

During the home opener, the Rays’ organization will retire number 13.  Nothing will ever be the same. 

With the other departures of, hold on let me get ready: Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza, Joaquin Benoit, Grant Balfour, Dan Wheeler, and most likely the increasingly desperate Rafael Soriano, spots will be opened up for future Jason Bartlett, future Matt Garza, Lance Cormier, Mike Ekstrom, Chad Qualls, and Kyle Farnsworth. 

Lastly, you may remember 3B Evan Longoria’s claim that the fans did not show up to Tampa Bay home games.  What you may not have heard is when the fans responded, “Sure we don’t attend” as they put their masks back on. 


The 2011 slogan for the Baltimore Orioles is “Success In Imports.” 

“Nick Markakis and the Mercenaries” will take the field next season unfamiliar with each other’s playing styles.  They may not even know each other’s names.

Mark Reynolds will be known as “one two three,” Derrek Lee as “that one guy who fought Chris Young,” and Brian Roberts, an Oriole veteran, will become “that guy who’s just sort of been here.” 

Younger players like Matt Wieters and Nolan Reimold will sit cross-legged in front of Roberts as he tells tales of what the roster used to look like in his “hay day.”

“We had a man by the name of Rafael Palmeiro and a guy named Surhoff.”  “Woooooowww,” the youngsters will say in awe, “Did you have cleats back then?”

Manager Buck Showalter, most well known for guiding the Texas Rangers to three consecutive third place finishes in ’04-’06, will channel his inner "True Grit."  In the process, he will take advantage of the Coen Brothers’ new film and model himself more after Jeff Bridges’, Rooster Cogburn. 

The players, not knowing how to respond to this, simply will ignore him. 

After a few weeks and becoming tired of the Rooster Cogburn character, Showalter will go onto compare himself to Jeff Bridges’ character in Seabiscuit.  Because of this, he will compare his pitchers to workhorses…then race horses. Then he’ll treat them like true race horses. 

The young Oriole staff must hope they don’t wear down. 


The New York Yankees will hire a new GM who looks eerily like the Sith Lord. 

Along the way, they will finish in last place after their makeshift rotation fails down the stretch, and by stretch, I mean June onward. 

CC Sabathia will dominate opponents for the first few innings of the year. Then he will get tired. 

AJ Burnett will become the new staff ace after all the pressure of New York baseball is lifted off his shoulders. After a few quality starts, the pressure will return tenfold.  He will never recover.

Phil Hughes will become the Phil Hughes of 2010.  He will continually be overlooked by everyone who cannot take their eyes off of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez’s receding hair-line. 

Andy Pettitte will come back for 2011, retiring from baseball only between his starts.  For this reason, he will not be in great shape.  The Yankees, used to Clemens antics, will not mind as long as Pettitte makes more than he’s worth. 

As far as the lineup goes, Derek Jeter will act as though nothing weird happened this offseason and it will be totally awkward.  Alex Rodriguez will gossip around the clubhouse to make sure the attention is not on his own declining average and OBP.

Brett Gardner, seeing Jeter’s success, will dive into the crowd, make unwarranted jump throws (from the outfield), make a flip play, win multiple undeserved gold gloves, and demand an outrageous contract for his worth. He will be loved in the city of New York. 

Robinson Cano will hit the cover off the ball like the stud that he is, then receive a cover article on Sports Illustrated, and then promptly be overlooked again.

Nick Swisher is awesome. 

Welcome to 2011, the A-Rod and Jeter show.  Is Mariano Rivera even still around?  

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