With the Rays off a memorable season which was supported by a cast of young rising stars and well-placed veterans. Now the rest of the AL East is playing catch-up and have to improve their team to out perform the Rays for the next several years. The biggest moves were done by the biggest team, the New York Yankees.
The Yankees signed three free agents to extraordinary sums of money this offseason, to make-up a snapped streak of consecutive playoff appearances. The addition of Nick Swisher by trade and signing Mark Teixeira gives the Yankees a stacked lineup of veteran hitters that can hit for power and making opposing pitchers work. Their rotation isn't too bad either now with the addition of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, they have three number one starters and a potential fourth one in Joba Chamberlain. The number five spot will be competition between some guys and veterans.
|2009 Yankees Projected Starting Rotation|
|1. CC Sabathia|
|2. A.J. Burnett|
|3. Chien-Ming Wang|
|4. Joba Chamberlain|
|5. Phil Hughes|
The Baltimore Orioles have inherited the bottom of the AL East from the Rays and have big holes to fill, especially in their rotation. An area of concern was shortstop, which became vacant after trading Miguel Tejada, and the Orioles signed free agent shortstop Cesar Izturis. A nice short term solution for the O's, their offense was actually their strongest aspect last year. What the O's need is good starting pitchers and relievers. Since Baltimore isn't a hot destination to go right now, the O's are able to get some veteran starters that might not help them compete for a playoff spot, but won't be blown out every game. Mark Hendrickson was signed to insure a 5.00 ERA and Koji Uehara a chance to get a number three starter that is straight from Japan and has no guarantee. Uehara will get paid over $5 million in two years depend if gets his incentives. It is a long hill battle for the Orioles to compete now, but they have to start adding young talent(like the Rays) and develop them to accompany some of their star players.
Koji Uehara pitching in 2006 WBC