Welcome to the gigantic SOX & Dawgs 2010 MLB preview.  Over the next week you will get a team by team look at its key players, new faces, their potential MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year candidates, their possible starting lineup and rotation as well as a quick summary.

This preview was sculpted over a nearly seven week period in January and February with some mild tweaking as we went along prior to publication.  It comes from a culmination of reading so many baseball magazines, periodicals, articles and websites that in some cases I may know a team better that its own management.

Yesterday we looked at the NL East, Sunday was the NL West, Monday was the AL West, Tuesday we previewed the NL Central, Wednesday we took a trip around the AL Central and today it’s the AL East.

American League East

New York Yankees1. New York –  Manager: Joe Girardi (3rd year/4th overall)

Derek Jeter - Getty ImagesThe New York Yankees won the franchises 27th World Series title in 2009 and they should very well be in contention into October this season.  The Yanks are my pick to win the AL East but as usual it won’t be without a battle with Boston and Tampa Bay.  The Yankees in effort to play better defense this season went out and traded for CF Curtis Granderson, they also picked up free agent DH Nick Johnson and OF Randy Winn who expects to be one of the first options off the bench and can play all three outfield spots giving them the flexibility to rest the regulars.  The Yankees also looked to deepen their rotation with the acquisition of Javier Vasquez from Atlanta in a trade for OF Melky Cabrera.  The biggest questions now are who leads off (Derek Jeter or Granderson) and what do they do with Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and newly signed Chan Ho Park.

Key Players: Alex Rodriguez 3B; Derek Jeter SS; Mark Teixeira 1B; Curtis Granderson CF; Joba Chamberlain P.

MVP Candidate: Mark Teixeira 1B and Curtis Granderson CF.

Cy Young Candidate: CC Sabathia.

ROY Candidate: None.

Key Additions: Nick Johnson DH/1B (FA-Fla); Javier Vasquez SP (Trade-Atl); Curtis Granderson CF (Trade-Det); Randy Winn OF (FA- SF); Chan Ho Park RP (FA-Phi).

Possible lineup: Granderson CF; Jeter SS, Rodriguez 3B; Teixeira1B; Johnson DH; Swisher RF; Posada C; Cano 2B; Gardiner LF

Possible rotaton: Sabathia; Burnett; Pettitte; Vazquez; Hughes

Boston Red Sox2. Boston – Manager: Terry Francona (7th year/10th overall)

Kevin Youkilis - AP PhotoBoston is my pick for the wild card in the American League but they will need to beat out Tampa Bay and Los Angeles to get there. The Sox got better defensively this off season adding CF Mike Cameron, moving Jacoby Ellsbury to LF and acquiring an entire new left side of the infield with SS Marco Scutaro coming from AL East foe Toronto and 3B Adrian Beltre coming in from Seattle.  They also added more depth to an incredible starting staff by signing prized free agent John Lackey.

Key Players: Victor Martinez C/1B; Kevin Youkilis 1B; David Ortiz DH; Dustin Pedroia 2B; Daisuke Matsuzaka SP; JD Drew RF.

MVP Candidate: KevinYoukilis1B and Victor Martinez C/1B.

Cy Young Candidate: Josh Beckett SP.

ROY Candidate: None.

Key Additions: John Lackey SP (FA- LAA); Jeremy Hermida OF (FA-Fla); Bill Hall IF (Trade-Sea); Adrian Beltre 3B (FA-Sea); Mike Cameron CF (FA-Mil); Marco Scutaro SS (FA-Tor)

Possible lineup: Ellsbury LF; Pedroia 2B; Martinez C; Youkilis1B; Ortiz DH; Drew RF; Beltre 3B, Cameron CF; Scutaro SS

Possible rotation: Beckett;Lester; Lackey; Matsuzaka; Buchholz/Wakefield

Tampa Bay Rays3. Tampa Bay –  Manager: Joe Maddon (5th year/7th overall)

Evan Longoria - AP PhotoThe Rays will once again compete for a post season spot but will fall just short and finish third in the AL East.  3B Evan Longoria will continue to get even better and drive AL clubs crazy while they could also see an impact from rookie OF Desmond Jennings and rookie SP Wade Davis.  The starting rotation is solid and gets better each year and James Shields will be in the running for the AL Cy Young Award.

Key Players: Evan Longoria 3B; Ben Zobrist 2B; Carlos Pena 1B; Dionner Navarro C; David Price SP.

MVP Candidate: Evan Longoria 3B.

Cy Young Candidate: James Shields SP.

ROY Candidate: Desmond Jennings OF and Wade Davis SP.

Key Additions: Kelly Shoppach C (Trade-Cle); Rafael Soriano RP (Trade-Atl); Jesse Chavez RP (Trade-Pit); Wade Davis SP (Rookie); Desmond Jennings OF (Rookie)

Possible lineup: Bartlett SS; Crawford LF; Longoria 3B; Pena 1B; Zobrist 2B; Burrell DH; Upton CF; Navarro C; Jennings RF

Possible rotation: Shields, Garza, Price Niemann; Davis

Baltimore Orioles4. Baltimore – Manager: Dave Trembley (4th year)

Adam Jones - Baltimore OriolesQuite possibly the most improved team in the division is Baltimore.  It won’t get them to the post season but it will show their fans that they have a direction.  Young players will make a huge impact here as the O’s have a quality outfield, a very good young catcher who continues to grow in the most difficult position in the sport and a true ROY candidate in SP Brian Matusz. Kevin Millwood anchors the staff and should help the youngsters along while Mike Gonzalez gives them a better option  to hold onto a lead at the end of the game.

Key Players: Brian Roberts 2B; Nick Markakis RF; Adam Jones CF; Matt Weiters C; Kevin Millwood SP; Mike Gonzalez RP.

MVP Candidate: None.

Cy Young Candidate: None.

ROY Candidate: Brian Matusz SP.

Key Additions: Kevin Millwood SP (Trade-Tex); Miguel Tejada 3B (FA-Hou); Garrett Atkins 1B/3B (FA-Col); Mike Gonzalez RP (FA-Atl); Brian Matusz S (Rookie)

Possible lineup: Roberts 2B; Jones CF;Markakis RF; Tejada 3B; Scott DH; Reimold LF; Atkins 1B; Weiters C; Izturis SS

Possible rotation: Millwood; Guthrie; Matusz; Uehara; Hernandez

Toronto Blue Jays5. Toronto – Manager: Cito Gaston (3rd year/12th overall)

Aaron Hill - Reuters PicturesCito Gaston’s final season won’t be very good for the Blue Jays.  This team is just a hodge podge of maybe’s, wannabe’s and used to’s.  The starting rotation is young, inexperienced and very slim.  They’re just waiting for Kyle Drabeck to be their savior but when he does get there he’s going to need help and a lot of it.

Key Players: Vernon Wells CF; Aaron Hill 2B; Randy Ruiz DH; Ricky Romero SP .

MVP Candidate: None.

Cy Young Candidate: None.

ROY Candidate: None.

Key Additions: Zach Johnson RP (Trade-Cle); Brandon Morrow RP (Trade-Sea); Kyle Drabeck P (Trade-Phi); Alex Gonzalez SS (FA-Bos)

Possible lineup: Hill 2B; Overbay 1B; Lind LF; Wells CF; Ruiz DH; Ecarnacion 3B; Snider RF; Buck C; Gonzalez SS

Possible rotation: Romero; Marcum; McGowan; Richmond; Litsch/Mills


Tomorrow – We will look at the big winners in 2010.