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The New York Yankees have a had a huge offseason! They’ve signed Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and veteran Brian Roberts to their lineup with the addition of Masahiro Tanaka to their rotation. Along with that, one of the most least talked about moves was the signing of Kelly Johnson. Jonson will be 32 years old by the start off the season. He plays third base, second base, and left field. The fact that he plays second and third is huge for the Yankees since they have wholes at both of those positions, and if Roberts needs a day off at second, Johnson can play there and they can stick Nunez at third. Also, having a versatile infielder like Johnson will extinguish the need of another infielder, such as Stephen Drew, although the Yankees are considering him. The plan for Johnson at the moment is to be there everyday third basemen. The one thing that sticks out to be about Johnson is his bat. Johnson has 924 career hits along with 124 home runs. He had a monster season in 2011 were he hit a combined 39 home runs with the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks after he was traded to Arizona mid-sesion. That year he also batted in 107 runs! In 2013 with the Rays, Johnson hit 16 home runs, drove in 55 runs and stole 14 bags in 118 games. Johnson was not an everyday player, but when he was in the game, he was a huge power threat addition for Tampa Bay. Now coming to the Bronx, Johnson will most likely have to start possibly everday at third base. Johnson did start nearly every other year of his career besides last year so that isn’t concerning. Now that Johnson is playing in Yankee stadium with the short porch in right, his power will be very useful, and he may be able to have a 2010-type season, when he hit 26 homers with a .284/.370/.496 slash line for the Diamondbacks. This signing will end up being a great one for the Yanks if Johnson keeps putting up his big power numbers.
With Spring Training only weeks away my next few blogs will be predictions for the 2014 season. The Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rays, and Orioles are all in the AL East.
The first place team in the east will be the New York Yankees. They have spent over $500 million this winter, and not done yet. Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Masahiro Tanaka are the major editions to the Yankees organization. The Yankees can’t have a ton of trust in Derek Jeter, and they know that. There has been rumors to bring in former Red Sox player Stephen Drew. If they can add Drew and trade Ichiro Suzuki for maybe JJ Putz they Yankees are locked in for a playoff spot.
The 2013 World Series winners, Boston Red Sox will be the second place team in the division. They have lost one of the best center fielders in the game in Jacoby Ellsbury. With top prospects Jackie Bradley Jr he can man the outfield. Can the Sox trust a rookie? Maybe not. Bringing back Mike Napoli was a key move for them to contend. The Red Sox roster will look the same as there championship team, but with a big subtraction.
The Toronto Blue Jays will finish in third place. 2013 was supposed to be there year. They brought in RA Dickey, Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle, and Josh Johnson. They were the favorites to win the World Series. 2014 will be a better year for the Canadian team, hopefully team chemistry will be a key figure for them to place third.
Will the Tampa Bay Rays finish fourth in the AL East? After finishing in second place last year and going to the ALDS, they will not contend this time around. This off-season has been around former Cy Young award winner David Price and the trade rumors. They have added some minor pieces but nothing for them to be a contender. If the Rays aren’t doing so well around the trade deadline(which they won’t) you will see Price elsewhere. But don’t count them out yet, if there bullpen actually does what it can do, and David Price returns to his 2012 form, Evan Longoria can stay healthy, and there outfield can perform to what they actually can, you may see the Rays finish with more wins.
The Baltimore Orioles will finish last in 2014. There really isn’t much to say about the O’s. Chris Davis will hit 50 homeruns, Manny Machado will hit 50 doubles, and Adam Jones will drive in 100 RBI’s. If the rest of the teams in the division play as I project them to, the Orioles will finish in last place.