(Baltimore Sports and Life)
What a offseason it has been for the Red Sox thus far. Hard to believe it's almost over, with just over 2 months before first pitch on April 3rd. This offseason has been a mixed bag for a beloved BoSox; David Ortiz officially retired, Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech were both dealt to the White Sox for All-Star, Chris Sale, the Mayor of Ding Dong City was impeached and banished to Milwaukee in exchange for Tyler Thornburg, and Clay Buchholz was dealt for a measly prospect... to name a few events.
With the Sox adding perhaps the best left handed pitcher in the AL, and the Blue Jays weakening both on the bump and in the heart of their lineup, it's no wonder why the Red Sox are favored to win the AL East for the second time in a row. In fact, many would go as far to say they'd win the division by 5+ games. But that may not always be the case. Baseball is a weird game, and it all comes down to luck of the draw. Players have to play and perform well, managers have to make smart decisions, and the front office has to make the necessary moves to make the team better in the long haul.
So who could possibly threaten the Red Sox in the AL East this year?
All the pieces have to fall into place, and they'll definitely have to make a move, but I think the New York Yankees have a fighting chance this year. Chapman is back, they added Matt Holiday, and who could forget the Baby Bomber, Gary Sanchez? This Yankees team doesn't look like a threat, but with the monster contract of Texeira out of play, and clubhouse cancer, Alex Rodriguez out of the dugout, the Yankees finally have the ability to just play loose and with a clear mind. Let's not underrate the addition of Matt Holiday either. At DH, he could provide some serious thump in that order either behind or in front of Gary Sanchez. Holiday also has a ring that he won in 2011, so the experience is there.
The one issue is in the rotation. Now the Yankees have some intriguing guys, like Bryan Mitchell, Luis Severino, and Chad Green, but the veterans of CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, and Michael Pineda are just insane question marks, which is where the idea of a trade comes into play. The Yankees were able to load up on prospects like Gleybar Torres and Clint Frazier from the Chapman and Miller trades last year, boosting their farm and making a blockbuster deal more likely. Who could that pitcher be? Zack Greinke comes to mind immediately. Greinke is coming off of a horrendous year in AZ, going 13-7 with a 4.37 ERA in his first year of his lucrative contract. With the surplus of prospects the Yankees now possess, they could potentially put together a legitimate deal to Arizona in which they acquire Zack Greinke in exchange for x, y, and z.
On paper, this team shouldn't amount to anything. But remember last year when these guys were within 4 games of the wildcard before ultimately collapsing? These young players got a taste of meaningful baseball last year, and that'll only help them perform this season. The key is that rotation; the vets have to get back to being effective if the Yankees want to stand a chance in the AL East this season. But hey, add Greinke, and that rotation becomes a lot scarier.