Al East

March 29, 2011

Predicted finish, records

Red Sox Yankees Blue Jays Rays Orioles 94-6892-71*81-8178-8470-92

Pennants, wild cards since 1995: 10, 12.

Average payroll: $111.8 million (First of six divisions).

Managers with World Series rings: Terry Francona ('04, '07), Joe Girardi ('09).

Players with MVP awards: Dustin Pedroia ('08),

Alex Rodriguez ('03, '05, '07), Vladimir Guerrero ('04).

Pitchers with Cy Young awards: CC Sabathia ('07),

Bartolo Colon ('05).

Possible high fantasy picks: Carl Crawford, Robinson Cano, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, Mark Teixeira, Evan Longoria, Pedroia, Mariano Rivera, Sabathia, David Price.

*-win one-game playoff for wild card against Tigers

2011 awards

MVP: Crawford, Red Sox. He scored 110 runs for the Rays last season. He could raise that to 120-plus while also driving in 100 if he hits at the same level he did a year ago. Worth considering: Gonzalez, Rodriguez, Kevin Youkilis, Longoria, Bautista.

Cy Young: Price, Rays. Entering his third full season, he is ready to emerge on the national stage. Worth considering: Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Sabathia, Rivera.

Rookie of the Year: Kyle Drabek, Blue Jays. The key in the Roy Halladay trade for Toronto, the 23-year-old Texan has pounded the strike zone this spring. Worth considering: Jeremy Hellickson, Rays; J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays, Zach Britton, Orioles.  

Manager of the Year: John Farrell, Blue Jays. A former pitching coach and assistant GM, he moves into the dugout with a team that could contend into September.

Nine questions


Are the Red Sox the best team in baseball? That's what conventional wisdom says, and it's right. The additions of Crawford and Gonzalez and renewed health of Pedroia give Boston a chance to score 950-plus runs — and the pitching's good too.


How much trouble are the Yankees in? A lot. The starting rotation is thin and the lineup is getting older. They can't take a playoff spot for granted.


Can Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon carry the Rays? Stranger things have happened. Ramirez, a waste of a uniform for the White Sox last September, seemed reborn this spring, and Damon always gives you everything he has.


Who's the most underrated player? It's hard to go unnoticed in New York, but the speedy Brett Gardner somehow does. He could become one of baseball's best leadoff men.


Who will rescue the Yankees? There's little question they'll pay heavily to get the best available guy (or two) in a midseason trade. Felix Hernandez? Albert Pujols? No telling what could happen between now and then.


Can Buck Showalter cook up some Orioles magic? Down the line, maybe, but in 2011 it's going to be difficult to build off last season's 34-23 finish.


Who will be the next player traded by the Rays? Don't be surprised if James Shields beats Damon and Ramirez out of town. He'll have value with a good first half, and Chris Archer is in the wings.


Same old

Derek Jeter (left)? Why not? Eyebrows went up when his batting average dropped 64 points, but he's a good bet to jump back over .300.


Bautista, man or myth? Check back at season's end. Having given him a five-year, $65million contract, the Jays hope he keeps hitting home runs after an out-of-nowhere 54 last year.

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