Originally Posted by cumberlandreds
Red Sox as my biggest fall of the season. Losing Damon and Renteria will be more than they can handle. Plus they didn't really upgrade their pitching very much. I can see them falling to fourth place this season in the AL east.
Reds,of course, as the biggest surprise. New ownership and GM will give them a shot of confidence that hasn't been seen in Cincinnati in years. At least I hope so.
I disagree with this. I think the Red Sox are in much better shape than they're getting credit for. Didn't upgrade their pitching? They traded for a young ace who already has a World Series MVP under his belt (Beckett) while losing nobody from their rotation. Additionally, they get the return of a healthy Schilling...not to mention an electric young arm in Papelbon waiting in the wings. In the bullpen, Foulke figures to be much improved from last season. To get to Foulke, they upgraded from Harville, Bradford an injured Mantei and a bunch of question marks to good veterans in Riske, Tavarez, Seanez and a cadre of intriguing young arms: Craig Hansen, Papelbon, Manny Delcarmen, Van Buren, Lenny Dinardo. This an incredibly deep and talented pitching staff. They're not only more talented than last season, but they also have many more options this season.
Fielding: They've improved significantly at shortstop, and Snow/Youkilis gives them a slight upgrade at first base over Millar. They're pretty much the same everywhere else. Mueller was a pretty good 3B, but Lowell is reigning gold glove winner in the NL.
Offense: Downgrade at shortstop, but Renteria wasn't all that great last year anyway. Gonzalez can hit 9th and pop 20 HRs. Upgrade at 2B. Loretta is a very good #2 hitter. Possible upgrade at 3B. It always amazes me how quickly good players get written off after one bad season. It wasn't too long ago that Mike Lowell was being talked about as a possible MVP candidate, and now he's completely lost it? I don't buy it...bounce back year for Mikey. Upgrade at 1B. Millar was horrendous last season. Youk is an OB machine, and Snow is a steady platoon partner. Centerfield could be a wash. Damon should get the benefit of the doubt for being a great lead-off hitter over the past several seasons, but Coco could surprise in this line-up.
I think the Red Sox are the class of the AL East this season. The Yanks just don't have the starting pitching (of course, they can just buy it come July).