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Thursday December 16, 2010 6:47 pm

Cliff Lee signing helps shape AL East




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB,

CC SabathiaWhat does Cliff Lee signing with a National League team mean for the American League East? A lot, actually. The New York Yankees didn’t land this year’s greatest free agent, and that changes the whole landscape for the 2011 season. No longer are they the juggernaut that would win the East title year after year; now they spend twice as much money as anybody else to simply contend for wild cards, if they even get those.

For the first time, the Yankees truly look vulnerable. Nobody expected them to miss the playoffs in 2008, but 2011 definitely has a bunch of questions that need answering. The Yankees’ biggest problem this year was the starting rotation, and Lee was supposed to help fix that. Now, it looks like New York will make a strong bid to entice the Royals to give up Zack Greinke, and the Yankees will have several pieces to offer Kansas City, and several million available to extend Greinke’s contract if he wants it.

Around the AL East, Boston has strengthened what was a damaged roster in 2010. Of course, anybody who gets Carl Crawford is going to improve, but the Red Sox have also added Adrian Gonzalez and Bobby Jenks, which doesn’t hurt anything. Baltimore has also improved tremendously. Of course, when you’re one of the worst teams, improving isn’t hard to do. However, Mark Reynolds, J.J. Hardy, Cesar Izturis and Jeremy Accardo are quite an upgrade over what they had.

As the Rays slowly come apart and the Blue Jays stand pat, it seems like the AL East might be the most competitive it’s been in years. But there’s still a lot of offseason left, and this is the East we’re talking about, so it might be a two-team race by July like it usually is, but it will be exciting to see how things play out between now and then. And all this because one stupid fan spit on a woman named Kristen.

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