As a part of our MLB betting previews for the 2010 season, Cappers Info poses ten questions that should be on the minds of all baseball fans as they prepare to make their MLB picks for the year.
Check Out all of the AL East Teams Odds to Win the World Series at the Bottom of this Post
1: How much will losing Jason Bay cost the Red Sox… Considering the fact that the Red Sox really didn't do much else to bolster their lineup in the offseason, this could be a huge factor. Bringing in Mike Cameron to replace Bay in the outfield just isn't the same, and unless 3B Adrian Beltre has that much better of a year than the third base platoon did last season for the Sox, finding the pop to replace Bay's team-high 36 home runs is going to be difficult.
2: Was the acquisition of SP Kevin Millwood worth it for the Orioles… It certainly can't hurt, that's for sure. The O's had the worst pitching staff in baseball by a country mile, posting an ERA that was a tenth of a run high than any team in baseball (5.17). Look for Millwood to bring at least a little bit of stability to the Baltimore rotation, as he put together a 13-10 season with a 3.67 ERA for Texas in '09.
3: Who has the better rotation, the Yanks or the Sox… Tough call. Throwing out there CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Andy Pettitte, and Javier Vazquez seems to be unstoppable, but for my money, if they're all healthy, seeing Josh Beckett (in a contract year, no less), Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and John Lackey, and Clay Buchholz (or Tim Wakefield) is the best in baseball. In a short series, Sabathia is the man that you want on the hill twice, but for the duration of 162 games, Boston gets the nod.
4: Can Toronto piece together a pitching staff without Roy Halladay… Considering the fact that it couldn't really keep a staff together with Halladay, it's hard to see how Toronto plans on doing it without Doc throwing every fifth day. Unless Ricky Romero is set to become an ace, the Jays probably have the worst staff in the division.
5: Do the Rays really have the horses to stick around in this division again… As long as they don't become sellers at the trade deadline, they probably do. Figure that they won 84 games last season without having any starting pitcher log more than 13 wins and with BJ Upton batting under his weight for the majority of the season. Carlos Pena also didn't ultimately bat his either. Upton is in a contract year, so he may turn into trade bait, but for now, Tampa Bay should have both the Yanks and Sox on notice.
6: Did the Yanks make the right move to bring in Curtis Granderson… Heck yes! Granderson may not be your prototypical leadoff hitter, as he's probably not going to bat much higher than .250, if that. But what he does bring to the Big Apple is the ability to hit home runs, steal bases, and play solid defense. With those short fences to shoot at, manager Joe Girardi could turn the former Detroit Tiger into a 30/30 guy in a heartbeat.
7: Is the real David Ortiz the one from the first half of the season, or the one from the second half… Boston had better hope that Big Papi doesn't get off to the same start that he did last year, or something is going to have to be done. If you look at Ortiz's holistic numbers, seeing 28 homers and 99 RBIs is nothing to be ashamed of for a man that played in 150 games. But the Sox need him more than ever without any major protection like he has had in the past around him.
8: Can Adam Lind and Aaron Hill both knock 35 dingers again this year… All together now: Who are Adam Lind and Aaron Hill? If you're not a fantasy baseball guru, you probably had no clue that the Jays had two 35+ HR hitters last season. Considering that the only "major" off-season signing for this team came in the form of C Jose Molina, it goes without saying that Toronto needs to get everything that it did and more from Lind and Hill this year, but it's highly unlikely that either is going to put up numbers anywhere near as good as they did a year ago.
9: Will the trade for Rafael Soriano pay dividends for the Rays' bullpen… When Tampa Bay went to the World Series, it was really on the strength of its bullpen. Last year, even though their numbers weren't bad, the Rays felt like a jumbled mess in the pen. Now that Soriano joins the fold as the closer of this team, that may put guys like Grant Balfour, JP Howell, Dan Wheeler, and Lance Cormier in defined roles, which manager Joe Maddon hopes will solidify the unit.
10: Bottom Line: How will the standings look in the AL East when the season is said and done… This is the question that we will pose for all six divisions and is the one of greatest importance. It's hard to see how anyone is running down the Yankees, but expect to see Tampa Bay and Boston battling it out for the second position and the Wild Card slot in the American League. When it's all over with, look for the standings to look like this… Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Orioles, Jays.
Boston Red Sox +700
Tampa Bay Rays +2500
Baltimore Orioles +10000
Toronto Blue Jays +12000
Boston Red Sox +575
Tampa Bay Rays +1475
Baltimore Orioles +7000
Toronto Blue Jays +8000
Boston Red Sox +700
Tampa Bay Rays +1700
Toronto Blue Jays +12500
Baltimore Orioles +15000