|Mid-Season Thoughts: American League East 2003||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on July 30, 2003
What we expected:
2) Red Sox
3) Blue Jays
5) Devil Rays
1) New York Yankees: Well, coming into the season the Yankees' biggest strength was pitching - at one point they had eight legitimate starters (well seven and the unproven Contreras.) However their pitching has had some real problems and the Yankees have floundered a bit allowing the upstart Red Sox and at one point even the Blue Jays to make a run at first place. In the end though, George’s meddling is the Yankee’s biggest weakness, the more he has backed away from his criticism of Derek Jeter and Joe Torre the better the Yankees have responded. Now all they need to do is hold off the Red Sox to succeed.
2) Boston Red Sox: Boston’s resurgence has little to do with their under performing pitching staff which was questionable coming into the season. The relative health of Pedro Martinez has been a saving grace for a team that has seen its other starters having off years. Boston has been about offense, and a lot of it, which combined with the Yankee’s under performing pitching, has kept Boston competitive. The acquisition of Byung-Hyun Kim was a solid one, but they need at least one more legitimate starter - ideally two to make a real run at the division title. Then they need to start beating the Yankees consistently -that’s a very tall order for a team with a 85 year history of falling short.
3) Toronto Blue Jays: Toronto has two real pitchers coming into the season in Roy Halladay and Cory Lidle. They still have two in Halladay and Kelvim Escobar who moved from the closer role to step into the rotation for the beleaguered Blue Jays. Lidle has all but fallen off the map, getting pasted on a regular basis with an ERA over 5. The Jays' strength was offense and power and they certainly have a lot of it. However without more legitimate pitching they will spend another season running in place but may finally make it to the .500 mark as we projected.
4) Baltimore Orioles: We all knew Baltimore was going to be bad, there was not a question about it and the cupboard was just about bare in their minor league system as well. The new GM was their biggest strength and now they are ready to deal away their successful veteran pitchers and players to restock the team with youth and potential. Its a very smart move, and really signals the rebuilding of a once classy organization.
5) Tampa Bay Devil Rays: The Devil Rays had the odds stacked against them this season as they brought what might be the youngest team of all time to the field. Veteran manager Lou Pinella has managed to keep his angst under control and probably has to be pleased with the steps this team has made so far. Admittedly they are baby steps, but this team is mostly kids, and the payroll is miniscule.