Sep 20, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox players celebrate after they clinched the AL East with a win over the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

AL East Round-Up

When the season began, it wasn’t supposed to be like this.  Boston was supposed to be the cellar dwellers.  Jays fans were pissed off, yet laughed when John Farrell jumped ship for a bad Boston team.  Toronto was considered an up and coming team that basically won the off-season.  Boston was just trying to find an identity.  And after 153 games played, John Farrell’s Boston Red Sox won the AL East Championship on a night when they played (you guessed it… or watched it) the Toronto Blue Jays.  Irony at its worst for us Jays fans.  LET’S DO THIS!

Boston Red Sox:  (RECAP)  As mentioned before, it’s been quite the week for Boston.  They wrapped up the AL East against Toronto on Friday the 19th.  Earlier in the week, they easily dispatched the New York Yankees again, via the broom.  Then they dropped their first series in about a month, losing 2 of 3 to the Baltimore Orioles.  Tampa Bay did their best job to help Boston fans not have nightmares from the 2011 season.  That helped push their magic number down to 1 on Friday, playing the doormat Blue Jays.  Toronto didn’t disappoint.  Congrats to the Boston Red Sox for winning the AL East.  Go have a bee-ah!

(NEWS & NOTES) On a high note, Toronto did hand RHP Clay Buchholz his first loss of the season.  Buchholz laboured through 5 IP, through over 100 pitches.  The loss dropped him to 11-1 on the year.  IF Brock Holt, RP Brayan Villarreal, and RHP Steven Wright were all recalled to Boston.  Boston wins the AL East for the first time since 2007 and it’s their first playoff appearance since 2009.  Oh if only we Blue Jays fans could be graced with such luck!

Tampa Bay Rays: (RECAP) The Rays needed to pretty much win out to win their first AL East crown since 2010.  The way their schedule finished out, that wasn’t going to happen.  Even though the Rays went 4-3 this week while Boston went 3-3, with every loss lowered Boston’s magic number.  The other unfortunate part was they played the Texas Rangers, the OTHER Wild Card team.  So as those two teams exchanged blows, the Cleveland Indians surged and are now part of this ugly triumvirate.  Oh if only we Blue Jays fans could be graced with such luck!  Tampa Bay is doing its best Simply Red impersonation (yea, most of you don’t know that reference.  Here’s some guy doing a cover.  All you need are the first 12 seconds.  You can thank me later for getting it stuck in your head.)  With the Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, and Blue Jays coming up, it’s possible the Jays can help two teams clinch their playoff birth this season.  We’re a pretty giving team.  Even when you’re not looking.  It’s like a slap in the face… or a ball.

(NEWS & NOTES) OF Brandon Guyer‘s season is over. He was transferred to the DL60.  TB brought up Yankees OF castoff Freddy Guzman to replace him.  LHP Matthew Spann was traded to the Washington Nationals to complete the David DeJesus trade.  Frank De Los Santos was acquired by the Chicago White Sox for a Player To Be Named.  This does not complete the earlier trade the two teams made when Tampa Bay acquired RP Jesse Crain.  Tampa Bay recalled IF Tim Beckham, RHP Jake Odorizzi, RP Jeff Beliveau, and LHP Enny Romero, who happens to be tonight’s starter against Baltimore.  Romero starts due to the RHP Jeremy Hellickson being used in Friday’s 18 inning marathon game.

New York Yankees: (RECAP) Boston’s manhandling of New York obviously didn’t help their playoff chances.  Even though the Yankees went 3-3 this past week, they still lost a series to the Blue Jays.  This is the same Jays team they were 13-3 against coming in to the series.  The San Francisco Giants, however, are doing their best to let the pinstripes hang on to their playoff hope.  Completing a sweep of San Fran would set the Yankees up for a favourable match-up with the Rays, but it’s do or die time for the Yankees.

(NEWS & NOTES) While no major roster moves were made, LHP Andy Pettitte did announced he will be retiring, again, after this season.  That 3B (or DB) A-Roid fella overtook Yankee legend Lou Gehrig for the most grand slams hit in MLB history on Friday, the 20th.  Most of us will remember this day as a day that… well… nobody will probably remember.

Baltimore Orioles: (RECAP)  Another team barely holding on, the Orioles looked good early in the week by winning 3 of 4 between the Blue Jays and Red Sox.  Then the heartbreaker 18 inning loss to the Rays happened.  They followed that up with another loss last night to Tampa Bay.  So with eight games left, seven at home, against Toronto and Boston, it’s time to make like Chris Davis and either Crush or Crash.  What does this metaphor mean when compared to a man with 51 HRs?  It means even though he’s hit 4 HRs this month, he’s batting .213 with 29 Ks in 80 ABs.  He’s not the only one.  Adam Jones is only batting .250 with 21 Ks in 80 ABs despite clubbing out 5 HRs in September.

(NEWS & NOTES) Another fun stat is the stat made famous by the Orioles last season.  W-L record in 1 run games.  Last year, Balitmore was ridiculous 29-9.  This season, 17-29.  OF Henry Urrutia was re-activated from the restricted list despite rumours he may not be after the VISA issue when the Orioles played in Toronto.  3B Wilson Betemit was DFA’d.  LF Steve Pearce was activated from the DL15.  LHP Zach Britton and RP Mike Belfiore were recalled.

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Tags: AL East News & Notes Baltimore Orioles Boston Red Sox New York Yankees Tampa Bay Rays Toronto Blue Jays

  • Rocky

    Alex Anthopoulos need to make a huge statement in the off-season. That is all.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Johnson cannot come back for 14 million. I could see 6 plus major incentives
    if he really produces. He and Morrow are both risks, half a season of
    solid production from each would be great. Someone else has to be
    brought in to eat innings. I like Rich Griffins idea, if at all
    possible, of a back end loaded contract with a big signing bonus (ie 2
    years of 6-8 million, 3 years of a lot more). If a front line starter
    looking for a multi-year deal (Nolasco, De La Rosa, Garza, Burnett,
    Santana, Vargas), could be brought in, that’d be great.

    If not, a
    serviceable, reliable “Tier 2″ guy is a must (2 if Johnson goes back to the NL). My opinion, Bartolo Colon would be great. I know he loves
    Oakland, but he might like being on the most Dominican, or maybe most
    Spanish, team. We could give him a raise and still get a deal. Or
    there’s Scott Feldman, Jason Hammel, Bronson Arroyo maybe.

    real issue is how to improve your pitching and be able to afford an upgrade at catcher. Carlos Ruiz seems like the best deal to be had.
    or Saltalamacchia are options, but are more limiting,
    financially and offensively respectively. Ideally, an outside hire could
    catch Dickey and eliminate Thole from the lineup. I’m not sure who else
    is available, just not Barahas or Molina again.

    Dream scenario:
    they sign the pitchers and catcher they want, more than they can afford.
    Then, in April, unload salary by trading a package of Happ, Lind and Izturis for a
    serviceable 2nd baseman, or a prospect, or cash, or nothing. Once the season starts, there’ll be a demand for starters. There must be someone who needs a 5th starter, a power hitter, a utility infielder
    and can add payroll. Throw in JPA and/or a prospect or two. Who’s rebuilding? The Brewers?

    • Justin Jay

      Where to start Bob… Well, I’m in total agreement with you on Johnson. We still have Morrow, so we’re going to send him back out there. This will be a make or break year for him though, because the team has the $1 mil buyout after 2014.

      I’m not sure about these backloaded contracts to aging vets. The guys you mentioned to bring in are all #2-3 starters… and #2 is being generous. Nolasco will want a raise and had a bounce back year at 30. But he’s 30. Garza is less consistent than Buehrle and we’re stuck with Buehrle. Vargas is not that good. Burnett has already had a go with Toronto, bolted, is much older now and is better in the NL. Santana is somebody to consider but he’s year to year in terms of quality. Colon is too old and who knows how long before they suspend him again. He couldn’t hack it with the Red Sox just 4 years ago and looked washed up. Arroyo is OK, but also going to be 37. Feldman is a #3 in the AL. Hammel is a mystery. He has Jeremy Guthrie syndrome. Looks good enough to be a #2. Looks bad enough to be in the bullpen. The guy you mentioned that I like is Jorge De La Rosa because he’s one of the few that can win in Colorado. Problem is, he’s been awful in the AL. He’s 7 yrs removed from AL pitching though, so maybe he figured something out. A #4 at worst though… but none of these guys are solutions on a team with no Ace.

      The catching situation is dicey. JP is the man at the moment, but they have Jimenez in the fold. Thole knows how to frame a pitch but is just as ineffective at controlling the running game as JP is. The options you suggested aren’t bad ones. I’ve seen Salty enough to know the guy is better than JP right now and an upgrade defensively. Wherever Pierzynski goes, teams win. He’s got some years on him, but he calls a great game and coaches love that. Very solid defensive catcher. His attitude can rub teammates the wrong way. It’s well documented. I’m not sold on Ruiz. Another one that got suspended, part of me thinks he will again. He wasn’t much of anything his first 4 years in the majors.

      The trade you’re throwing out there, honestly, is a little crazy. Yea, we need crazy, but not that crazy. Should you trade Lind now? It’s a possibility, because you would be selling high. The Rangers could use the guys you suggested. It’s possible to get a guy like Profar if Lind and somebody better than Happ and Izturis were in the deal. Really though, Toronto needs to unload Buehrle now. It’s not that I don’t like him, but he’s going to get really expensive, really quickly. He’s going to be 35 next season, making $18 mil. and his FB barely tops out at 86. They need to overhaul the pitching staff, again, immediately, before the payroll gets out of hand. And I’ve seen a Google spreadsheet not that long ago by Blue Jays super stat nerd James G (great follow on Twitter) saying how it won’t be THAT bad, but really… it’s going to be that bad. An aging team like this doesn’t improve. It declines. With a bare farm system, the Blue Jays are in a really tough position of trying to find ways to get better. I hate saying this, but Arizona needs a closer badly and I think they could get some pretty good players back for a guy like Janssen and a few throw-ins. Tyler Skaggs would be a nice score. Even consider an Ian Kennedy, who’s going to get stronger since Tommy John. There’s a good amount of work to be done, but the Jays need to really eval who they want to keep and who they want to sell. I could do an article on it… but many of us already have haha

      • Bob Loblaw

        Yeah that trade scenario was kinda out to lunch. I’m grasping at straws for ways to keep salary down, ie get Izturis off the payroll. I wouldn’t be surprised if they resign Lind and use him as trade bait for the deadline.

        I think Ruiz would be a defensive upgrade who would hit for average. In my mind, that’s good enough. I don’t even know if he’d want to come. They need to eliminate the guaranteed holes in the lineup, or have no more than one. Don’t need McCann.

        So you think they should start the big rebuild now? Cause trading Buehrle would potentially free up a lot of cash but there go +200 innings, and for what? Prospects? Is it possible to overhaul the rotation before next season? Aren’t they talking about going to ~150 million payroll? Buehrle and Dickey can each give you 1-2 more years, after that I’m all for the rebuild or trading while we can get something.