The American League East will have a very different look in 2015. Division mainstays Jon Lester, and David Price got dealt away last summer, Derek Jeter retired and the exodus of familiar faces continued in the offseason when Ben Zobrist, Nick Markakis and even manager Joe Maddon wound up elsewhere. This shakeup should make for an interesting and close division from top to bottom. Here is a look out how things could end up.
5th place Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays are going to miss the leadership that Maddon provided and the front office has changed too so they will likely take a small step back. They have the pitching but the offense probably won’t scare too many opponents. Evan Longoria, James Loney and Steven Souza will from the meat of the order and the lineup is quite pedestrian before and after them. They might be the worst offensive team in the A.L.
4th place Toronto Blue Jays: Toronto will be able the out slug some opponents with a nasty lineup that features Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and new third baseman, Josh Donaldson. Unfortunately none of those guys can pitch and that is where the Blue Jays need lots of help. Losing Marcus Stroman for the year earlier this spring really hindered the Jays chances of competing for the top spot in the division. Having Russell Martin lead the staff will help but it won’t be enough as they will finish at .500.
3rd place New York Yankees: Alex Rodriguez will be back for the Bronx Bombers but the question remains will he be more of a help or a distraction. The Yankees are a team of ifs in 2015. If Carlos Beltran can bounce back with a decent offensive season, if Mark Teixeira can play 150 games, if Masahiro Tanaka can stay healthy, if C.C. Sabathia can be a decent number three in the rotation and if Michael Pineda can pitch 180 innings then the Yankees can finish first. Honestly that is just too many ifs.
2nd place Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles will miss designated hitter Nelson Cruz and Markakis in the lineup. The team didn’t really address these holes and are pinning their hopes on Manny Machado and Matt Wieters coming back from injuries and leading the offense. Maybe Chris Davis will find his stroke again and crack 35 home runs in 2015, but if 2014 is any indication that isn’t likely to happen.
1st place Boston Red Sox: They lack a true number one starter at the top of their rotation but they do have five solid starters to fill out their rotation. Hanley Ramirez will rake in Fenway Park as long as he stays healthy. New third baseman Pablo Sandoval is a streaky hitter who the fans will love when he is hot and boo when he is ice cold. They still have a crowded outfield which means that a trade will eventually happen that can fill a need when it arises. Plus their deep system will come in handy, if they choose to use it, when the trade deadline rolls around and that is a huge advantage.