Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The AL East is baseball's toughest division, and not even a $500 million spending-spree can guarantee that the Yankees have a real shot to win the division this season.

They added Brian McCann to upgrade offensively behind the plate; added Masahiro Tanaka as a much needed arm in the starting rotation; brought in Jacoby Ellsbury to bring speed and a lot of potential to the lineup; and signed Carlos Beltran as a veteran bat, who's switch-hitting abilities help create flexibility in the daily lineup.

Monday night, the Baltimore Orioles can to an agreement with Ubaldo Jimenez, just hours after announcing the signing of Suk-min Yoon.

Even though their offseason was a wash, in my mind, its hard to overlook them as the contender that they have been the past two seasons.

The Boston Red Sox didn't make any major moves this winter, but they didn't really need to. They were the defending World Series champions. Being a championship team means that everything was already working well, so why change it.

They will come into the season as the favorites to win the division again, unless the Yankees stay healthy, or the Tampa Bay Rays have the success that I think they can have in 2014.

Adding Grant Balfour and Heath Bell to the bullpen is a plus. Bell hasn't been great in a couple of years since he was with the San Diego Padres, but the Rays have always had success turning around a player's career, and I'm sure Bell with just be another to add to the list.

With Jimenez off the board, it's down to the Toronto Blue Jays to do what they need to do to get a deal done with Ervin Santana, who seems to be drawing interest from no one else. Not the Blue Jays have a great chance to win the division this year, you can cross them off immediately if they don't land Santana. They did nothing worth noticing this winter.

The AL East goes down the the wire just about every year, and nothing about this past offseason suggests that 2014 will be anything different.

Yankees links worth sharing:

* CC Sabathia lost a lot of weight this offseason, and is using ties to Andy Pettitte to believe that his decreased velocity will have no effect on his ability to be a dominant pitcher moving forward. Also, Larry Rothschild talks about a new pitching drill, and there could be a sleeper candidate in the bullpen competition.

* Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long made some comments to the New York Daily on Sunday that he didn't like the way Robinson Cano hustled on the field, but in reality, the Yankees are going to miss everything about him, even his effort.

* With one more great season, Derek Jeter could walk away from the game with the 5th most hits all-time by a Major Leaguer.

Today's warm-up song: "Hustlin" by Rick Ross. Get it? Because Cano didn't hustle. I don't listen to rap music -- and never will -- but I thought it would be funny to use this with Long's comments being a hit topic lately.


Gavin Ewbank is the Lead Writer of Yanks Beat Blog, and you can follow him on Twitter (below).


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