Tuesday, April 28, 2009

An updated look at the AL East

Toronto - Like the Angels, the Blue Jays have a litany of pitcher injuries, leading to scores of replacement level innings that drag down their chances at .500 baseball, not that they had much of a chance in the loaded AL East to begin with. Backup catcher Michael Barrett is also on the DL for a couple weeks with a minor injury sustained while fielding a wild pitch. 75-80 wins in a sub-.500 campaign is more likely now.

Tampa Bay - Ben Zobrist and Gabe Kapler may see more time, but otherwise, this is the same 94-96 win squad that may just miss the wildcard by a game or two. They've stayed healthy.

NY Yankees - With Chien Ming Wang going down, the Yankees appeared in trouble until news broke that Alex Rodriguez would begin rehab assignments this week with a targeted return in early May. Having A-Rod for most of the season boost the Yanks in light of the loss of Wang and Xavier Nady. In fact, the drastic improvement of Nick Swisher defensively in RF over Nady more than offsets any recent personnel losses. The Rays gained some ground, but not enough to stop the Yankees from a 95-98 win campaign and the wildcard.

Boston - Losing Daisuke Matsuzaka for a spell is only a slip: at this stage it's expected he'll make one or two DL trips per year. Jonathan Van Every takes over as the backup outfielder, and there are a few strange faces in the bullpen. But otherwise, this team remains on track for 100 wins and the AL East title, as the big guns remain in place.

Baltimore - Lou Montanez is a solid addition to the bench in lieu of the injured Ryan Freel, and Brian Bergesen is the best of the Orioles' options for a blank rotation spot: He should do fine. Still, this is a 90-95 loss team.

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