Here’s another subplot in the build-up to what should be a free-for-all in the AL East this summer:
Almost every team in the division can play the nobody-believed-in-us card.
With the exception of maybe the Blue Jays, who generated the most offseason hype this winter, the teams in baseball’s deepest division might all enter the season with a chip on their shoulder.
Case in point: Yankees first baseman (and Mount St. Joe alum) Mark Teixeira
“I really feel good about our team this year," Teixeira told the New York Daily News. "It's actually fun when everyone else counts you out because it kind f makes guys want it a little bit more. Every year we want it, but this year especially, it's going to be even more of a challenge. I think that's going to make it more exciting as the year goes on.”
Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz was also quoted using the “U” word this week.
“It’s better to be the underdog,”
, who opened said story referring to the Sox’s spring home as “Camp Low Expectations.”
Maybe the usual heavyweights up north aren’t so far off with thinking they’re being overlooked. In our Google+ Hangout this week on Orioles Insider,
My take is that all five teams could finish in any of the five spots and it wouldn’t be a shocking development.
What do you guys think? Are there any underdogs in the AL East this year?
Now, on to this week's team-by-team roundups:
New York Yankees
It's hard to decide which team to put this under, but the discussion of whether Kevin Youkilis
. (Silly me for thinking it was something that would just clog the sports talk radio jabber in those cities.)
Those things tend to get sorted out when the paychecks from the new team start showing up.
In other Youkilis news, it seems that the Greek God of Walks
And, speaking of paychecks,
Finally, while Yogi Berra isn’t helping out at camp this season, fellow former Yankee catcher
Boston Red Sox
If you thought the Red Sox had cleaned house and eliminated all of their problem-causing egos, you would be mistaken.
Reliever Alfredo Aceves delivered his latest example of petulance when he started
Much like Posada, Jason Varitek is in his former team’s camp, working as a special assistant. The former catcher and captain
Also, the Sox made a trade this week,
Mariners for a player to be named later or cash.
And ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes
, who threw a no-hitter in Baltimore in April of 1987 while a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Toronto Blue Jays
John Lott of the National Post points out that the Jays didn’t just trade for R.A. Dickey this summer – they also
. Either Josh Thole or Henry Blanco – whoever wins the backup role behind J.P. Arencibia –
Aside from that, the only other notable competition in Toronto’s camp is for the starting second baseman job,
Maicer Izturis. (Bonifacio's versatility should lead to both will get plenty of time.)
Also, former Orioles pitching prospect Adam Loewen, now a minor league outfielder with the Jays,
Tampa Bay Rays
AL Cy Young Award winner David Price tossed a log into the fire this week, saying
. He backtracked a bit the next day, calling them
James Loney's low-key personality didn't make him a particularly popular player in Los Angeles or Boston – and neither did the fact that he’s a first baseman with very little power. But the Rays say
, a strong defender and gap hitter.
There’s also some baby news in Port Charlotte, as star third baseman
on Wednesday night.
That’s it for this week’s links.