Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Verducci: Yanks Take East, Boston WC

Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated offered his predictions for the upcoming season and surprisingly had New York winning the AL East with *gasp* Boston taking the Wildcard. From the article:

Division Winners: New York, Detroit, Los Angeles. (Last year's prediction: New York, Cleveland, Los Angeles. Not bad. The Yankees fell two games short of Boston, but qualified as the wild card.)

Wild Card: Boston. (Last year's prediction: Boston.)

East: Two GMs told me this is the year the Yankees don't make the postseason, one of them going so far as to say they'll finish third, behind Boston and Toronto. I'm not buying it. The Yankees have so much talent it would take a multitude of worst-case scenarios to cut them low: Andy Pettitte breaks down, Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui and, most critically, Jorge Posada all decline significantly because of age, and kid pitchers Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy aren't ready to carry a full season of New York's physical and psychological load. Is all of that going to happen? No.

Boston seems more prone to a fallback, if only because recent world champions seem to be handed a tax bill the following season -- and if it hits Josh Beckett, look out. Toronto is intriguing, but there's a huge difference between 87 wins and the 94 you need to play with the big boys in the East. The Jays are not in that weight class.

Looks to be a knock down drag out type of season in the AL East. Toronto's injury woes continue to saddlebag their chances of breaking into the top two in the East and the Yankees/Red Sox will be neck-and-neck all season.

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