There might not be a more difficult division to predict this season than the American League East, which could realistically see all five teams win the division. The parity in the AL East is impressive, and should make for a tight race down to the last day of the season. With that in mind, here is how the division appears to stack up with Opening Day just days away.Toronto Blue Jays – No team in the majors underwent a more dramatic facelift in the offseason. On paper, this is one of the best teams in the league, but it will all depend on the health of several key additions, including pitcher Josh Johnson and SS Jose Reyes, as well as the recovery of slugger Jose Bautista. Another thing to watch is how knuckleballer and reigning NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey adapts to the brutal American League.
Tampa Bay Rays – Despite the trade of James Shields to the Royals, the Rays retain a wealth of pitching options, including reigning AL Cy Young winner David Price and up-and-coming star Matt Moore. As long as Evan Longoria is able to stay healthy, the offense should be able to score just enough runs to help out the pitching staff.
Baltimore Orioles –The O’s were one of the luckiest teams of all-time last season, posting an unsustainable 29-9 mark in one-run games in 2012. While that will be impossible to replicate, the Orioles should have a more stable rotation this season. And the offense still features productive bats in Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Matt Wieters and Chris Davis.
New York Yankees – It is hard to be more snake-bitten than the Bronx Bombers have been this spring. Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira will all start the season on the DL, leaving the heavy lifting to Robinson Cano and the C.C. Sabathia-led pitching staff. The Yankees always seem to figure out a way to compete, so they should not be counted out, but this will be their biggest test in years. And let’s not even get into the newest A-Rod debacle.
Boston Red Sox – No one really knows what to expect from the Sox this year. On the one hand, they posted an abysmal 69-93 record and traded away Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett. On the flip side, Boston retooled in the offseason, adding Mike Napoli, Ryan Dempster, Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes to round out the roster. The biggest key to the season, however, will center around the health and effectiveness of young stars Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester.
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