Unable to write off the Jays’ season already, I have managed to convince myself that Toronto has a shot at making the playoffs. I’ll get into why the Jays are amazingly awesome in later posts, but here’s a few reasons why the AL East is not as tough as everyone seems to think it is:
Why we don’t need to worry about the Yankees
People say that the Yankees “won” free agency this year. People are also stupid.
Any Jays fan knows that AJ Burnett has a history of only pitching well in contract years. Any Jays fan also knows that Burnett is a head case. And how’s he acclimatizing himself to New York? MacLeod says that AJ’s not doing so hot:
I made the trek into Tampa this morning to check out the zoo that is the New York Yankees and ran into a fellow scribe whilst setting up in the press box here at luxurious George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Of course, I asked him about A.J. Burnett, the former Blue Jays pitcher who bolted Toronto for the dough in the Big Apple.
“He’s an idiot,” came the quick response.
As for the other free agents:
CC Sabathia wanted to stay in California, but came to New York because of the filthy lucre. Anyone interested in seeing how players perform when they’re unhappy with their situation need look no further than Robert Reichel’s tenure with the Maple Leafs.
Mark Teixeira is the only signing that worries me even a bit, but you’ve got to remember that his is one bat attempting to fill the whole left by two (Bobby Abreu and jason Giambi.)
And there’s the little matter of this:
Sitting beside Rodriguez at the head table were Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi. Many of Rodriguez’s teammates watched soberly from the side. The high-powered group included Pettitte, Derek Jeter, A.J. Burnett, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada. Posada, however, left abruptly during Rodriguez’s opening remarks.
Cancer much? Posada couldn’t even be bothered to stay for the whole press conference!
The Monyeballers out there will say that chemistry means nothing and it’s all about the numbers, but come on. A-Rod is not Reggie Jackson. He won’t be able to handle the fans and the media in New York and mash up to his capabilities.
Why we don’t need to worry about the Rays
They are a talented, young team that has good (if not great) pitching. But Tampa’s likely to regress toward the mean a bit this year, it’s science. Last year, they had lightning in a bottle, it’s unlikely they’ll pull that off two years in a row.
Something else to think about: The last three teams to lose the World Series have failed to make the playoffs in the following year.
(Yes, we’ll just ignore the entire history of baseball previous to the last three years, thanks!)
Why we don’t need to worry about the Red Sox
They’re banking on Brad Wilkerson to cover first base.