Last year, the Toronto Blue Jays were the popular pick to win the American League East. Of course, it didn't happen. This year, the division isn't quite so easy to figure.
Toronto gave up two of their 2021 acquisitions, infielder Marcus Siemien (Texas) and pitcher Steven Matz (St. Louis), as both went back into the free agent pool. They still have a nucleus of youth in 2nd generation stars Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., & Cavan Biggio. This year, they picked up Matt Chapman (Oakland) and Raimel Tapia (Colorado) to help the offense. They also acquired Yusei Kikuchi (Seattle) and Kevin Gausman (San Francisco) as free agents to compete for spots in the rotation. Gausman returns to the American League after a Cy Young-worthy season in San Francisco, and how the Giants let him walk, I don't know.
As for the Yankees, they're always a threat. With Joey Gallo & Anthony Rizzo on board for a full season, it helps solidify the lineup, more so with the acquisition of Josh Donaldson (Minnesota) in a trade that sent Gio Urschela and Gary Sanchez out of town. They are bent on making Miguel Andujar into an outfielder, and picked up Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the Donaldson deal after Minnesota had gotten him from Texas. New York also has Marwin Gonzalez (Boston) in camp.
For local fans, we have some bad news. It appears the team's 2nd run on WPIX has come to an abrupt end, with 21 games scheduled to air this season on Amazon Prime, still produced by the YES network. (YES is co-owned by the Yankees with Amazon & Sinclair Broadcasting). What that means is that any games airing on local TV not airing on YES will be on Fox or ESPN. Do you really want to torture yourself with listening to 80-something John Sterling on radio?
The big story in Boston is the signing of Trevor Story (Colorado) as a free agent. Story, with Xander Bogaerts settled at shortstop, will play 2nd base instead. The opening came up when Dustin Pedroia retired at the end of last season. That moves Kike Hernandez out of the starting lineup, although he can play the outfield. The Red Sox welcomed back Jackie Bradley, Jr. after a year in Milwaukee by sending Hunter Renfroe to the Brewers. I don't think that was such a good idea. Ace Chris Sale starts the season on the injured list. Eduardo Rodriguez is gone, taking away a key part of the rotation. Bringing in Rich Hill (Mets) might not be the answer.
The only news coming out of Baltimore was picking up Rougned Odor from the Yankees as a free agent. They are not a threat.
Tampa Bay surprised everyone by winning the division, but you could say it was done with mirrors. Sure, Randy Arozarena won Rookie of The Year, but the league is used to him by now. Wander Franco is a star in the making. Ace Tyler Glasnow is on the 60 day injured list to start the season. The Rays will not sneak up on anyone again
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