All the talk through the offseason revolved around what would be a race for the ages in the 2009 AL East. There were three teams, the revamped, “more lavish spending than ever” Yankees; the steady Red Sox, who didn’t know the meaning of the word collapse; and the sentimental favorite Rays, who had come out of nowhere to land the 2008 pennant. In April the discussion revolved around the Red Sox hot start, the Rays up-and-down performance, and the last-place Yankees. In May it was the Sox staying steady, the Yankees starting to find some cohesion, and the Rays meandering along the .500 line. In June the Yankees and Red Sox were going head-to-head at the top of the division, while the Rays were making a little-noticed push toward the top. Now in July, the race is neck to neck. But if this seems crazy, then just imagine what 2010 will be.
Not only will the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays be in the division hunt, but also the Blue Jays and Orioles. 2010 is the arrival date for Orioles top pitchers Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, and Brian Matusz, all three will join ace Jeremy Guthrie, and sinkerballer Brad Bergesen to make a strong rotation. Brad Snyder could join the O’s at first base should Aubrey Huff leave in free agency. These players would join Baltimore’s core four of LF Nolan Reimold, CF Adam Jones, RF Nick Markakis, and DH Luke Scott. These players would put Baltimore a bullpen arm away from contention.
The Blue Jays with their hoard of young pitchers, and hitters, such as Aaron Hill, Adam Lind and Travis Snider, have showed flashes of brilliance this year, and could be strengthend even more should they deal ace Roy Halladay for a kings ransom of prospects.
If a three team race in 2009 is great, then what about a five team battle in 2010?