Will Myers works out at 2014 Rays Spring Training camp.
Courtesy: Jonathan Dyer/USA TODAY Sports
(via Fox Sports Florida)
Baltimore Orioles: As I mentioned in my 2013 recap, 2013 for the O's was sub-par to their 2012 season. But we did see the emergence of "Crush" Davis. I mean, with 53 HRs last season, it's hard not to notice him. The O's lost Brian Roberts, K-Rod, Jason Hammel, Scott Feldman, Mike Morse, among others which can be seen here. The O's will be looking to bounce back from the aforementioned sub-par 2013 campaign. With their only stand out additions being Ubaldo Jimenez and Delmon Young, the O's were pretty quiet this offseason. Unfortunately for them, I can't see them returning to their magical form of 2012 and see 2014 being more like 2013. 2014 Prediction: 83-79, 4th place.
Boston Red Sox: Where to even begin with the Red Sox. Last year, I predicted they would hit the cellar of the AL East and they not only won the division, but they're the defending world champs. I obviously greatly underestimated them. Never again. So let's begin with their offseason losses. They lost Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Andrew Bailey. (More here.) Notable losses still available for resigning are Stephen Drew and Joel Hanrahan. They resigned Mike Napoli. And there's talk of a David Ortiz extension. The Sox had a magical run of their own in 2013, and it will be hard to top. The good luck charm of the beards are gone. I can't see them being the juggernaut they were in 2013, but they will still be one of the two teams to watch in the AL East in 2014. Significant losses will bite them, but not hard considering the Sox have money to burn. Look for them to be leading the AL East a significant portion of the season but they won't win it. They will be a wild card, but will not repeat as either AL Champs or World Champs. 2014 Prediction: 93-69, 2nd place.
New York Yankees: 2013 will always be remembered as the final year of the Sandman in New York. In 2014, David Robertson will be looking to sufficiently fill that closer role in the first year of the post-Rivera era. I think the pressure will be too much for him in 2014, but he'll succeed in 2015. As for free agent losses, the Yankees lost Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano, among others. However, they have the additions of Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Masahiro Tanaka. The additions have the Yankees in a good position to be good again, especially with the full time return of players like Mark Teixeira, but I believe it will not be enough to overcome the distraction of yet another retirement tour as Derek Jeter is retiring after the 2014 season. The Yankees will be in it early, but I believe ultimately the distractions of Jeter's retirement tour and the over all age of the team catches up with them and they fade away. 2014 prediction: 89-73, 3rd place.
Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays come in to 2014 riding the high of their short lived magical run in the 2013 playoffs. Where they survived while facing elimination not once, not twice, but four or five times, depending on your definition. Offseason losses include Jose Lobaton, Delmon Young, Sam Fuld, Fernando Rodney and Ryan Roberts, again among others. The Rays managed to resign James Loney and David DeJesus, managed to not trade David Price, and picked up the option on Ben Zobrist. Other acquisitions are Ryan Hanigan, Heath Bell and Grant Balfour. This year, the Rays come in with a projected payroll that would be the highest in team history, seemingly setting themselves up for great success, especially with the entire infield being back, a full season of Wil Myers, and a bona fide closer in Balfour. With many of the same bats from 2013, the offense should be at least as good as 2013, though we do still have Derek Shelton as hitting coach, so I won't count my chickens before they hatch. 2014 has a lot of promise for the Rays. I think the AL East race will be really close between the Rays and Sox, but ultimately the lower payroll of the Rays will win out and the Rays will take the division and have a deep run in October. Whether that includes a Commissioner's Trophy is not something I will predict, but I am most definitely hoping and optimistic. 2014 prediction: 95-67, 1st place.
Toronto Blue Jays: The Jays had a miserable 2013. They were set up for the ultimate success after the big trade from November 2012, but failed to capitalize. None of their free agents, which can be seen here, resigned with the team this offseason. The team had no stand out acquisitions or signings either. Only one sentimental signing Roy Halladay, who was signed to a one-day contract as he retired the next day. Unfortunately, someone has to finish last, and the Jays just do not look impressive. They're not gonna be a given win for their opponent, but the team doesn't have it in them to put up a heck of a fight. 2014 will be miserable for the Jays. 2014 prediction: 65-97, 5th place.
Well, there they are. My predictions for the 2014 AL East. In November, I will revisit these prediction and see how I did. here's to a great season! Now, what are your predictions?