The AL East has been and remains one of the most competitive divisions in Major League Baseball with three legitimate playoff contenders that could each win it all this season if everything falls into place. Regardless of which team comes out on top, you know that the East title will most likely remain up for grabs until late September.
The following is a brief preview of all five teams in the AL East along with their current future odds as provided by BetOnline.
New York Yankees
Projected 2012 Win Total: 93
Odds to Win the American League: +280
Odds to Win the 2012 World Series: +550
It’s the start of another season and once again New York has been opened as the favorite to win the American League. It is easy to understand why given that the bulk of the talent that produced last season’s 97-65 record is back along with the addition of new starters Michael Pineda from Seattle and Hiroki Kuroda from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The potential downside for the Yankees this season is an aging lineup that could have some issues over the long haul, especially the overall health of 36-year old Alex Rodriguez, who appears to have lost a step or two. None the less, New York remains the class of the division and the team to beat in the East.
Boston Red Sox
Projected 2012 Win Total: 87.5
Odds to Win the American League: +425
Odds to Win the 2012 World Series: +700
If Boston’s talented but pricy roster is going to have any chance to overtake the Yankees this season, it is going to have to quickly put last season’s collapse in the rear view mirror and completely buy-in to new skipper Bobby Valentine’s system.
With pretty much the same cast of characters in place, it will be up to Valentine to get this club back on track after it slipped way off the rails at the end of the year. His experience and demeanor could be the right fix at the right time to return Boston to the postseason.
Tampa Bay Rays
Projected 2012 Win Total: 87.5
Odds to Win the American League: +900
Odds to Win the 2012 World Series: +1600
There is no team in baseball that has done more with less than Tampa Bay. Credit manager Joe Maddon with guiding this team to the postseason in three of the past four seasons, despite losing some major chunks of talent along the way. Tampa Bay’s best move this offseason was signing him to a three-year extension.
The only real chink in the armor of a solid rotation and a lineup that knows how to generate runs could be at the catcher position. Veteran Jose Molina will be joined by rookies Jose Lobaton and Robinson Chirinos to try and fill this void.
Toronto Blue Jays
Projected 2012 Win Total: 81.5
Odds to Win the American League: +1500
Odds to Win the 2012 World Series: +2800
Toronto is a solid ballclub that has the unenviable task of playing in the AL East. It managed to win 81 games last season after posting 85 wins in 2010. The Blue Jays have the power in the lineup behind Jose Bautista, but there are still some major question marks with the lead-off position. They traded for Colby Rasmus, who should get the nod, but they still have Rajai Davis for his speed.
Another big addition was closer Sergio Santos, who will compete with Francisco Cordero for the job come opening day. The added depth to the bullpen will help, but Toronto will still be left in the all too familiar position of looking up at the other three teams in the division all season long.
Projected 2012 Win Total: 71
Odds to Win the American League: +4000
Odds to Win the 2012 World Series: +7500
Baltimore started to show some signs of real life at the tail-end of 2010 and the start of the 2011 season, but the reality of not having enough depth in its starting rotation set in and it finished with 69 wins, which was just slightly better than its 66 wins the year before.
The prospect for this season could be even grimmer with the trade of its only true starter, Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado. The Orioles seem content to rely on the home-grown talent of pitchers such as Brian Matusz, Zach Britton, and Jake Arrieta to go along with Japan League prospects Tsuyoshi Wadi and Wei-Yin Chen.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.