The new look AL East is sure to be one of the most interesting divisions to keep an eye on throughout the league this year. The two main contenders for the title, as they have been for years, are the Red Sox and Yankees. Despite the two team being arguably the most active and anticipated rivalry in all of baseball, both teams find themselves in interesting positions entering there 2018 season.
Although the Red Sox finished the season 93-69 and won the AL East, their playoff push (or the lack there of) left something to be desired as the team could not make it past the Indians in the first round of the playoffs. Throughout the offseason, the major acquisition made was the signing of the power hitting outfielder J.D. Martinez. Given the dimensions of Fenway Park, most notably the Green Monster in left field, the home stadium should serve him well as he contributes his power to the middle of the Sox lineup. However, the main issue for Boston is not the lack of power in the lineup, hitters like Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts, Mitch Moreland, and young infielder Rafael Devers allow for a powerful lineup. The issue lies off of the field and in the clubhouse. Following the retirement of David Ortiz, the team needed a leader to act as the glue that holds the clubhouse together. The thought was that Hanley Ramirez could fill this role, but he did not do so, leaving the clubhouse separated and not able to properly work together at times. Finally, the Red Sox have a new manager to replace John Farrell, a former Red Sox shortstop himself, Alex Cora.
Likewise, the Yankees have also introduced a rookie manager, in Aaron Boone. Also in similar fashion, the Yankees acquired a right-handed power hitter of their own. However their new player may be the best power hitter in the league. With the signing of Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees have been thrust into playoff filled expectations that can only be accomplished with their seemingly dominating offense, and a successful pitching rotation. The once dominant C.C. Sabathia will be returning to the team, and has had good seasons recently for the Yankees. Last seasons trade for Sonny Gray will fill their rotation with a consistent and powerful pitcher who is capable of taking on big games. And Masahiro Tanaka has also proven to be a valuable asset to the Yankees’ rotation.
Only time will tell which of the two rivals will come on top of the AL East, but it is a likely situation that both teams enter the playoffs through a wildcard spot. But needless to say, the 2018 season will be one to fuel the fire between the famous rivalry once again.