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Could Tampa Bay be primed for a repeat?

When it comes to bringing home an American League pennant, is Houston still the team to beat? Or could it be one of the teams in the stacked American League East, where a few of those operations (Yankees included) made some significant moves.

Here’s what we see as the division breaks down, with the futures odds coming from BetOnline.

American League East

TeamOdds
Toronto Blue Jays+165
New York Yankees+225
Tampa Bay Rays+260
Boston Red Sox+600
Baltimore Orioles+5000


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Okay, here we go:

Toronto Blue Jays (+165 to win AL East)

The Blue Jays are getting a lot of respect because they had plenty of firepowers to begin with, then reached out. In this particular instance, they made a deal with the desperate Oakland A’s to acquire the third baseman, Matt Chapman. That’s a guy who is as good as it gets with the glove and hits with power.

And they filled two holes in the rotation, signing Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi as free agents. They were named All-Stars last season for San Francisco and Seattle, respectively.

But neither of those guys has a long history of success. And in the interest of objectivity, one has to consider the losses. When you lose Robbie Ray, who was the 2021 AL Cy Young winner, and infielder Marcus Semien, who was third in the AL MVP voting, you are, frankly, getting slower to a zero-sum gain.

Still, Vlad Guerrero Jr. is enthusiastic and says that as we saw the “trailer” last season, this time we’ll see the movie. Well, he’s right in that it remains to be seen.

New York Yankees (+225 to win American League East)

The Yanks will once again have more than their share of power hitters. And they have a good bullpen. And of course, they have Gerrit Cole. But depth in the starting rotation is going to remain a problem. They have some guys who are not there all the time. And we can imagine manager Aaron Boone manipulating a lot of different people as things progress.

For example, Luis Severino has pitched 18 innings since the end of the 2018 season. Jameson Taillon is coming off surgery. And has Jordan Montgomery really demonstrated that he can do enough to be the #2 starter on a division winner?

Former MVP Josh Donaldson has come aboard. But is he a real difference-maker? The Yankees have a stopgap shortstop in Isiah Kiner-Falefa. But did they really gain something in that trade that sent Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez to Minnesota?

Tampa Bay Rays (+260 to win AL East at BetOnline)

If there is one team that has learned to play “Moneyball” in the American League, it’s the Rays. Yes, even better than they have in Oakland. That’s because they have a very low payroll and manage to deal with personnel losses year in and year out.

Imagine this scenario, as we put it into perspective. Here is a team that won 100 games, capturing the division by eight games over the Yankees and Red Sox. They somehow scored the second-most runs in Major League Baseball.

And yet the real strength is the bullpen. And it has to be that way because of the way they use “openers” and distribute innings. Well, the bullpen has gotten even stronger after the numbers of arms injured last year are ready now. So they could actually be a better team.

Boston Red Sox (+600 to win AL East)

The Red Sox were one of five teams in baseball to score more than five runs a game in 2021. Three of those teams are in the AL East, so that won’t be good enough, in and of itself.

Boston’s problem may be similar to that of the Yankees. They don’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence with the 1-through-5 depth in the starting rotation. And Chris Sale (rib injury) may not be available for a month or two.

The big acquisition was Trevor Story. However, the former Colorado star (six years, $140 mil) won’t play shortstop, but second base. Okay, they’ll have popped. But other things must break right for them to push the lead here.

Baltimore Orioles (+5000 to win AL East)

Yes, the O’s are still here. But it’s not likely they’ll let most people know until the trade deadline. They actually have some pieces that will have value to other teams. Cedric Mullins was a 30-30 guy last season. Trey Mancini can hit the long ball. John Means could be a useful rotation piece for somebody.

This was a team that won 52 games last year. There’s really no upward movement in the offing.

How will they finish in the American League East?

  • 1) Tampa Bay Rays
  • 2) Toronto Blue Jays
  • 3) Boston Red Sox
  • 4) New York Yankees
  • 5) Baltimore Orioles

The Rays are a team that has a plan. They operate with a system, and they work the system. Kevin Cash is about as good a manager as there is. And the front office does the most with the (almost) least. With a deeper staff (maybe even Tyler Glasnow at some point?), they can outmaneuver these other teams.

Major League Baseball is around the corner, and BetOnline has a virtual plethora of futures odds for you to enjoy, both now and throughout the season, you can rest assured!……. Keep in mind that Odds Boosters will dazzle you with explosive payouts on pre-selected parlays everyday, and there are numerous crypto options so you can make your deposits!

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