|AP Photo/The Boston Globe, Wendy Maeda|
1.) Boston Red Sox - 95-67
2.) Baltimore Orioles - 2 GB*
3.) Tampa Bay Rays - 7 GB
4.) New York Yankees - 7 GB
5.) Toronto Blue Jays - 14 GB
*Will clinch wild card berth.
The AL East was a one-horse race last year, with Baltimore running away with the division at 96-66, 12 games ahead of the Yankees, who finished at 84-78 last season. It's going to be much tighter this year, with the Red Sox revamping their roster and adding 2 big bats to go with David Ortiz and Mike Napoli in Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. That should prove to be a formidable heart of the order for even the best pitchers. With that said, though, the Red Sox do have an Achilles Heel: their rotation. The rotation could be good, but they lack an ace, which I think could be problematic. You need that one guy who you can turn to to be that guy, and I don't think the Red Sox have that guy, at least not on paper. As for the other teams, the only real competition I forsee is the Orioles, who have all their key guys from last year's team back.
As for the other teams in the division, I don't really see anyone else posing a serious threat. The Yankees could be an outside threat with Alex Rodriguez back in the mix, but the Rays and Blue Jays will be fighting over who finishes 4th in the division. But, ultimately, the Red Sox will win the AL East behind an explosive offense and a decent rotation, even with Baltimore nipping at their heels.