Did the Yankees make a statement by investing during a bad market? Well perhaps while the bad market was happening on Wall Street, the Bronx Bombers however did diversify their portfolio by adding some punch at first base in Mark Texeira. They didn't do too bad either by picking up CC Sabathia. The jury however is still out on A.J. Burnett. Let's look at the AL overall and see where this stimulus package will take the Yankees.
AL EAST: Although the Tampa Bay Rays rose from the perrenial ashes of 5th place last year, I don't foresee them being any better than a 3rd place team here. Unless Boston or New York self destruct, the Rays will be fighting but will not be able to maintain the pace set out by both the Red Sox and the Yankees. Boston, by using Brad Penny as the ace, will finally be able to close the Curt Schilling chapter. Jason Bay will come out as the wildcard in this whole thing. After a full training camp in Boston red, watch for Bay to fight for league MVP honors. With the Yankees providing battle throughout the summer, this one will be tight. Prediction here: Red Sox 98-64 (1st East)
AL CENTRAL: This always seems to be the division where a new team comes out from nowhere, Cleveland, the Tigers and heck even the White Sox won their first World Series in nearly 90 years. The constant however always seem to be the Twins. With Mauer and Morneau leading the offense, I can't see anyone else making a chase for Divisional supremacy. The one remaining team due to rise however is the Royals. Watch for some tough competition from KC this year with Soria perhaps being the league's best closer (K-Rod having moved to the NL). Prediction here: Twins 92-70 (1st Central)
AL WEST: There's the Angels and then the other guys. With such a runaway last year, the Angels were in cruise mode at the beginning of September. Even with a drop in performance this year (read the loss of Texeira and K-Rod), the Halos should prevail quite easily. A good year to transition over some young talent to give them experience. Prediction here: Angels 95-67 (1st West)
AL Wildcard: The AL East will be the battle for the Wild-Card spot. Money will buy you love to reach the playoffs this year and I see the Yankees making a return to the playoffs after a brief absence. Prediction here: Yankees 95-67 (AL Wild Card)
NLDS and NLCS: Boston should prevail over the feisty Twins. The Angels will battle hard vs the Yankees and should make it to the ALCS. Can the Angels get the proverbial "monkey" off their backs and beat the Red Sox for another World Series appearance? Unfortunately Mike Sciosia and crew will be outside looking in once more. Prediction - Boston moves on to the World Series once again.