Random Notes

The American League East will be no pushover in 2004. In years past, we have always been able to take solace in the fact that the Devil Rays, Orioles, and Blue Jays would be able to get us cheap wins while the AL West could beat up on each other, and we could possibly get in as a wildcard. Nevermore.
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays, while they will be finishing in the cellar again, certainly will not be losing over 100 games, or even 90. They have a great outfield in the making with Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli and Josh Hamilton (if he can ever stay healthy). Aubrey Huff is an outfielder that could be converted to first or third in the future. He is a hitter to be feared. Damian Rolls will fill the super-utility role very well. They also have some interesting outfielders in the minors that could make an impact. While they still need some work in their infield, their pitching is coming around (albeit slowly). It is very homegrown, but because of their many seasons of ineptitude, they’ve had low draft picks and now they’re starting to pan out. It won’t be for a while that they’ll start being really good, but they eventually will…while Lou Pinella‘s still manager.
The Baltimore Orioles have made a big splash offensively. They will have quite an offensive corps, but I think they made the wrong decision signing Javy Lopez and Rafael Palmiero. First off, Raffy’s a little on the old side. I would take Travis Lee over Palmiero any day. Lee has good defense and has been hitting solidly the past couple of years. As for Lopez, he’s older than I-Rod, and had a great season last year after several seasons of obscurity (last year was his best since 1998!)…I-Rod’s younger, more energetic, and doesn’t really tailspin in terms of statistics. But then again, you’ve got to remember that most free agents don’t want to come to Baltimore…so maybe it makes sense to get Lopez and Palmiero and Mike DeJean (a good setup man…but better than Kerry Ligtenberg? Not so sure…) as to attract future free agents. The Miguel Tejada signing was a good, solid signing. There’s no way the Orioles vault to third, but they’re taking a long step forward and will be able to finish above .500 this year.
The Toronto Blue Jays could field a 90-win team with a payroll around $50 million. I’m still skeptical about their rotation, but their bullpen has been bolstered with the main acquisitions of Ligtenberg and Justin Speier). Pat Hentgen and Ted Lilly will be serviceable, but not great. Is it a World Series team? Not yet. But they could sneak into second place in the AL this year. This team is good.
The Yankees do not merit discussion.
The Red Sox merit many hours of discussion, and that is why I created this blog.
My predictions?
Boston Red Sox Best hitting team in history, voted best rotation everywhere, a fixed bullpen…what’s there not to like?
Toronto Blue Jays A great, youthful team that should take everyone by surprise and storm into second by the end of April to stay.
New York Yankees An old, aging team whose glory days are behind them and an owner who shouldn’t be allowed near the front office…oh, Happy Days!
Baltimore Orioles Injuries, pitching woes strike. Orioles go into off-season intent on getting younger and getting more pitching.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays It’s the AL East…they’ve gotta work for fourth place, even!

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