With Opening Day just two weeks away, it’s time to narrow our focus on each Major League Baseball Division, starting off with the American League East.

Last year, we got three postseason teams out of this group and one of them, the New York Yankees, actually managed to win a postseason game. The other two — the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, pretty much wasted their trips, getting swept out of the Wild Card Round.  

The Yankees, of course, made it all the way to the ALCS only to get pummeled by the Houston Astros on their own World Series Championship journey. This time, maybe Houston did it without cheating? They hid all the trashcans last year, right?

Regardless, we have some of the league’s diamond franchises in the AL East and one of them still plays like it. Here’s how I see it stacking up by the time October rolls around.



Last season: 99-63, AL East Champion, Los ALCS 0-4 to Houston Astros

Odds to win the AL East: +110

Yes, it’s boring to pick the Yankees to win the AL East, but it’s baseball and, if you’re a fan, “boring” just comes with the territory. There’s no reason to complain about it now. New York had one of the best, hottest young stars in the league in Aaron Judge and decided, rightly, that he should be the focal point of their offseason work. They paid him his money, a 9-year, $360 million contract, and, since they already had their check book out, tossed some more cash at pitcher Carlos Rodon to the tune of a 6-year, $162 million deal.

Their rotation looks solid with Gerrit Cole, Rodon, Nesto Cortes, Luis Severino and Domingo German as long as they have everyone healthy when it counts. The bats, outside of Judge, aren’t particularly scary, but Anthony Rizzo, Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu are consistent mid-200s hitters and have regularly delivered in the postseason.

Projected 2023 record: 100-62


Last season: 86-76, AL Wild Card, Lost ALWCS 0-2 to Cleveland Guardians

Odds to win the AL East: +375

After an inglorious exit from the postseason that saw Tampa score exactly one run in two ALWCS games after posting their worst record in five years, they can at least expect to be a little better in 2023 thanks to getting three of their main stars healthy. Tyler Glasnow, Brandon Lowe and Wander Franco are all expected to contribute a lot more to the win totals this year by simply suiting up. Glasnow barely saw the grass last year.

With Lowe and Franco slotting back in with Rady Arozarena, Yandy Diaz, Harold Ramirez and Manuel Margot, this looks like a team that wills score runs in bunches and make it easier on their own pitching staff. Glasnow, recovered from his Tommy John surgery, looks to be the No. 1 pitcher, with Shane McCalanahan, Jeffrey Springs, Drew Rasmussen and Zach Elfin filling out the rotation early.

Projected record: 91-71


Lats season: 92-70, AL Wild Card, Lost ALWCS 0-2 to Seattle Mariners

Odds to win the AL East: +215

With a loaded roster last year, the Blue Jays underperformed in the postseason and made an early exit. They shed a couple of big names in trades — Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. and Teoscare Hernandez and sent a top prospect packing in Gabriel Moreno. In return, they got Daulton Varho, Erik Swanson and another prospect, Adam Macko. Multiple free agents bailed and now Toronto, at least, can’t disappoint with an early postseason exit. They can just be super excited that they got in there at all.

Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and George Springer can still bring the lumber. Alek Manoah, last year’s Cy Young runner up, should lead the rotation, with Kevin Gausman, Chris Bassitt, Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi rounding out the starting unit.

Projected 2023 record: 89-73


Last season: 78-84

Odds to win the AL East: +1200

There’s not a lot of joy in mudville these days. The New England Patriots missed the playoffs for the second time in three seasons since Tom Brady bailed and now the Red Sox look as if they too will be getting October off once again. If the Sox do whiff on the postseason again, it won’t be because they’ve kept their purses closed. They tossed monster contracts at Masatak Yoshida and kept their own third baseman, Rafael Devers, with an 11-yeat, $331 million contract.

The rotation is led by Chris Sale, with Corey Kluber, Nick Pivetta, Garrett Whitlock and James Paxton rounding it out. To say there are questions is an understatement, but I don’t expect Boston to bring up the rear of the division for two years in a row.

Projected 2023 record: 76-88


Last season: 83-79

Odds to win the AL East: +1200

Baltimore was one of the true surprises of the 2022 season, finishing nearly 20 games above expected and haunting the AL Wild Card race right down to the wire. They boasted some fresh star power too, with Adley Rutschman serving as the catalyst to a surge that had him finish second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting. So why do I have them finishing last?

Because they’re cheap and they just sat on their own players for the most part and, albeit talented, prospects and that’s no way to do battle in the MLB. Grayson Rodriguez getting his big league shot on the mound should be exciting and there’s a chance the team will trot him out on opening day. Kyle Gibson seems to be the lead dog in the pitching rotation, with newly acquired Cole Irvin, Dean Kremer and Tyler Wells to go with Rodgriguez.

Projected 2023 record: 70-94

Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.

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