Monday, December 14, 2015

Are The Red Sox Ready To Contend In The AL East?

If Dave Dombrowski really is through with his off-season wheeling and dealing, are the Red Sox—as currently constituted—true contenders? The party line is "of course!". They addressed all of their glaring roster needs (with the possible exception of 1B) and should challenge the iron of the American League East. But a look at the other four teams in the division suggests that contention might not be a given. For example, despite standing pat this Winter, the Blue Jays still have the best all-around team. True, they won't have David Price at the top of their rotation, but their lineup is still ferocious with Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. Justin Smoak at DH and rising star Devon Travis at 2B add to the strength of their offense. The Evil Ones will essentially return the same team as last year (which made the post-season don't forget)—bolstered by adding Starlin Castro to play second base. If Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira have even decent years (and A-Fraud somehow still manages to hit), they are no pushovers. And don't forget the ridiculous young starting pitching talent on Tampa Bay (Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Erasmo Ramirez, Matt Moore, Alex Cobb)—made better by the addition of veteran Drew Smyly. Luckily, the Orioles will probably stink. Nevertheless, while your 2016 Carmine Hose will be significantly better, they're not exactly playing in the Boston Park League.