Now that Spring Training is just around the corner, get ready for your regular baseball reports here at MySportsToday. One of the most exciting divisions is sure to be the American League East. The Tampa Bay Rays won the AL East and topped the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS to get to the franchise’s first ever World Series. Although the Yankees did not make the playoffs in 2008, the Yankees were the most active team in the off-season, signing free agents C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira. They also have steroids-using Alex Rodriguez and the ever-reliable Derek Jeter.
Our prediction – The Yankees win the division, but fall to the Red Six (your AL Wild Card team for the 2nd year in a row) in the 2009 ALCS. The Rays still have a great 88-win season, but fail to return to the playoffs.
Check out Jeff Passan’s AL East preview here. It is a good little cheat sheet for your 2009 AL East baseball season.
The Boston Red Sox have given Jason Varitek until Friday to make up his mind if he is going to stay for one more year for $5 million. The deal also has an option for 2010. The Sox who open up spring training Feb 12 for pitchers and catchers want to know by Friday since he would have to report in by the 12th. Varitek is a two time All-Star who will be 37 in April and did not have the best season last year. In his last 131 games he hit .220 with 13 HR and 43 RBIs. There has not been any interest from other teams and is coming off a four-year $40 million deal. Varitek has spent his entire MLB career with the Red Sox.
Couple of deals to report today:
The Red Sox avoided arbitration with first baseman Kevin Youkilis and signed him to a 4-year deal with approximately $40 million. The deal with keep Youkilis in Boston through the 2012 MLB season and there is a club option that could keep Youkilis playing for the Red Sox through the 2013 MLB season. Youkilis finished 3rd in AL MVP voting in 2008 and he set career highs in the following categories during the 2008 MLB season – batting average (.312); home runs (29); and RBI’s (115).
The White Sox are going to give oft-injured Bartolo Colon another shot for the 2009 MLB season. The White Sox and Bartolo Colon agreed upon a 1-year, $1 million deal, that could increase to a maximum of $3 million if Colon reaches certain innings pitched thresholds. Colon pitched on the South Side of Chicago during the 2003 MLB season – he went 15-13 with a 3.87 ERA. Many critics felt like Colon didn’t live up to his potential during the course of the year, but he did set career highs in innings pitched (242) and complete games (9) that season. From 1998 through 2005, Colon was one of the most dominant pitchers in the major leagues. He made at least 30 starts each season and logged at least 200 innings in 7 of 8 of the years. Colon has been bothered by injuries each of the last 3 MLB seasons.