2014 AL East: Best And Worst Case Scenarios
Welcome to 2014! We are one month away from February which means baseball is right around the corner. Two days into 2014 I have come up with some best and worst case scenarios (some realistic, some crazy) for all 30 teams around the MLB. This series starts with the American League East. Enjoy and add what you wish via the comment section!
Boston Red Sox
Best case scenario: The Red Sox once again get back to the playoffs and get to the World Series. Maybe not win it, but for them to get back to the playoffs minimum is a good starting point for a team fresh off a World Series championship. David Ortiz is a year older and perhaps the starting rotation (Clay Buchholz, John Lackey) had 2013 seasons above and beyond themselves. Maybe Koji Uehara overachieved in the post-season, but to get back to the playoffs in a season fresh off the World Series championship would be a great scenario for the Boston Red Sox. Perhaps the best.
Worst case scenario: The Red Sox 2013 was one in which the entire team overachieved. Many people didn’t even have the Red Sox in the playoffs in 2013. Still, they went on to win it all under John Farrell. The rotation struggles. Ortiz and Mike Napoli end up on the D.L. Finally, Jacoby Ellsbury is sorely missed because Jackie Bradley Jr fails to replace him while the bullpen struggles. The Red Sox finish 3rd in the division.
Best case scenario: The Orioles make the playoffs and take a run at the World Series due to their high powered offense with Chris Davis and Adam Jones. The rotation continues to pitch better than everyone’s expectations and the bullpen goes back to its dominant 2012 self. The Orioles make it to the ALCS.
Worst case scenario: 2013 was a fluke for Chris Davis, Matt Wieters continues to not hit to the potential he can and the offense is a complete letdown. The rotation comes back down to earth (Chris Tillman) and Bud Norris does not pitch very well. The bullpen struggles and the closers role is a revolving door. Adam Jones defensive struggles continue. The Orioles struggle in all aspects and finish 5th.
New York Yankees
Best case scenario: The Yankees continue to get magical performances from guys in the twilight of their careers. Career seasons from Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran fuel the team. Kelly Johnson has a good season. They sign Masahiro Tanaka to shore up the rotation. The Yankees just continue to be the Yankees and they find a way to have a 85+ win season and come close to a wildcard spot and just miss it. The Bombers finish second in the AL East.
Worst case scenario: The Yankees miss Robinson Cano and the offense struggles with injuries. Mark Teixeira gets injured again, Ellsbury struggles with the pressure in New York, the Yankees don’t get Tanaka and the rotation struggles. The bullpen does not have the same feel and success post Mariano Rivera. The Yankees finish in the basement of the AL East.
Tampa Bay Rays
Best case scenario: The Rays decide to keep David Price and he wins the Cy Young. Alex Cobb, Matt Moore, Chris Archer and Jeremy Hellickson continue to grow and the rotation becomes one of the best in the majors. The Rays sell a few high stock pieces in their farm system for an impact bat and the offense continues to perform. The Rays make the playoffs and the strength of their pitching carries them deep into the post-season. The Rays win the AL East, maybe even the ALCS.
Worst case scenario: The Rays find a trade partner for Price and then miss him in the rotation. Cobb, Moore, Archer, and Hellickson take some steps backwards while the replacement for David Price struggles. The Rays bullpen continues to go into freefall. The Rays offense is simply lackluster with Evan Longoria spending more time on the DL than games played. The Rays finish 4th in the AL East.
Toronto Blue Jays
Best case scenario: The Blue Jays 2014 season, is what people expected in 2013. The Jays offense continues to prove why they are among the league best. Colby Rasmus reaches his ceiling and bats 5th behind Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Bautista and Encarnacion each hit 40+ home runs and stay healthy. Ryan Goins continues to amaze with his glove and his hitting progresses over the season. Dioner Navarro shoulders a heavy workload. R.A. Dickey pitches well. Mark Buehrle continues to do what he’s done his whole career and Brandon Morrow finally stays healthy for a full season and is involved in the Cy Young conversation. The Jays add an arm at the deadline and they win the AL East.
Worst case scenario: The Blue Jays continue in a downward spiral. Jose Reyes spends time on the DL again, Melky Cabrera does nothing, Rasmus struggles again, and Bautista ends up on the D.L. Encarnacion is the only consistent bat on the team. Dickey continues to struggle in the AL East and at Rogers Centre, Buehrle gets hammered and suffers a career worst season, Morrow ends up on the D.L. … again, and the 4 and 5 spots of the rotation are a constant revolving door of struggling young prospects and washed up veterans. The Jays sell Bautista, Buehrle, and pieces in the bullpen to re-stock the farm and the Jays start a rebuild, yet again.