Thursday, November 24, 2011

AL East Notes

We shared our droning on the NL East a couple of weeks ago. Springing forth in spite of a remarkable lack of creativity, below are a few quick thoughts on recent developments in the AL East. Unlike last time, these will actually be quick...

Baltimore Orioles
Britton may be the best of this bunch.
A couple of years ago, it looked like 2012 or 2013 could be the year of the Orioles' resurgence. Instead, Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, and Zach Britton have yet to turn into anything resembling a fearsome foursome. Dan Duquette may be a passionate, experienced, and educated baseball man, but he could be running in circles until Peter Angelos gets pushed off of Eutaw Street.

Boston Red Sox
Will Gio Gonzalez an AL East import?
Bobby Valentine may be the disciplinarian the Red Sox need to navigate their clubhouse back to winning ways, but more importantly, perhaps, is how this move reflects poorly on Ben Cherington's autonomy in hiring a manager. Apparently, he wanted Dale Sveum before Larry Lucchino stepped in to get Bobby V an interview. If Cherington is forced by ownership and senior management to hire an established, veteran manager, like Valentine or Gene Lamont, his role could be frighteningly similar to Dan Duquette's gig in Baltimore, where Buck Showalter calls many of the shots out of the dugout. Recent reports, like this one from Peter Abraham, suggests "the Red Sox are just being methodical and will announce Valentine (or Lamont) as their man next week."

Beyond their front office and management headaches, Boston has reportedly been discussing a Gio González trade with Oakland. We've heard the A's haven't really gotten into particulars with regards to a Gio trade with the Red Sox, Yankees, or any other rumored suitor.

New York Yankees
Pujols is listening...
We wrote about the options Brian Cashman has in building his rotation for next season. Just this week, the Yankees unsurprisingly re-signed Freddy García. What's next is anyone's guess.

It would be really exciting if they did something unexpected, moved some money, and improved an aging lineup. For heaven's sake, there were murmurs the Yankees might sign David Ortiz. If they can sign old man Papi to DH, they could sign Pujols or Fielder to share first base with Teixeira.

Tampa Bay Rays
The new CBA may cause
Baseball to lose more athletes
like Bubba Starling to football.
New rules about limits to spend on draft picks and international free agents probably affect the Rays and Blue Jays negatively more than any other teams in this division. The Orioles haven't been big spenders really anywhere lately. It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall as the Rays adapt their business to focus on other ways to gain an advantage while being overspent hand over fist. The Rays won't be able to build through the draft as heavily as in the past, and the Blue Jays wont be able to invest as they have recently in Latin America.

Toronto Blue Jays
Alex Anthopoulos has had a very good start to his career running the Blue Jays. The trade front has been kind to AA, as he's been able to subtract a Vernon Wells while adding talented pieces like Colby Rasmus and Brett Lawrie, among others. In this division, however, the economics of the game make it so difficult for the Rays, Jays, and O's. Difficult is not impossible, though. The underdogs among us should maintain, as Bob Dylan said, "I'm always on my guard, admitting life is hard".

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