The best got better this off season, upgrading CF with the acquisition of Curtis Granderson and adding another solid pitcher to their rotation with Javier Vasquez. The World Series is theirs to lose.
The Angels have quietly been one of the best teams in all of baseball in recent years and this year should be no different with their core players returning along with new additions Joel Pineiro and Hideki Matsui.
The NL champs return largely in tact with a new ace Roy Halladay at the top of their rotation. They should be one of the best offensive teams in 2010.
4. Red Sox
The Dodgers retained all of their arbitration eligible players keeping together a group of emerging stars that has gelled well since the 2007 season. If Manny Ramirez can find his 2008 form the Dodgers should contend for the NL pennant.
The Mets were one of the most disappointing teams in baseball last year, however with key players returning from injury and off season additions Jason Bay and Kelvim Escobar the Mets look like they should be back in good form.
The Rockies have been the little team that could over the past few seasons. They have done more with less than most other teams. They have one baseball’s best short stops in Troy Tulowitzki and a very consistent pitching staff.
The Mariners enter the 2010 season with arguably the best pitching 1-2 punch in all of baseball with Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee, and off season free agent acquisition Chone Figgins, along with the incomparable Ichiro gives them a very speedy top of the lineup. The Mariners could surprise a lot of people this season.
While the Rays feature some of the league’s best young talent with players such as Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria, and Jason Bartlett, they will need their pitching to be stronger this season if they hope to compete.
The Twins have one of the top three players in the game at a position that is the thinnest of any in the game. They have five other batters that will hit above .280 and the amount of left handers in their lineup will give most team fits. But none of that will matter if the pitching rotation cannot hold up their end of the bargain.
The Braves will again be relying on their pitchers to keep them competitive, as they don’t quite have the bats that their fellow NL East teams have. Like the Rockies, the Braves don’t have a lot of household names in their rotation but they produce consistent outings and give the team a chance to win.
The Yankees got Curtis Granderson and the Tigers ended up spending $13 million on Johnny Damon for the last leg of his career. That’s why the Yankees are the Yankees and the Tigers are the Tigers.
15. White Sox
A young team with a lot of talent the Rangers could find themselves contending for the AL West.
The Cubs suffered from a lot of injuries and underwhelming performances from key players. With Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano healthy again the Cubs have reason for optimism. But then again, Cubs fans are optimistic every year.
The Diamondbacks will need Brandon Webb to resemble his old self if they are to compete, but a few off season moves should help their offense.
The Marlins are unimpressive on paper, outside of a few players, but the perennial team of prospects always seems to keep themselves in the playoff hunt deep into the season even with one of baseball’s lowest payroll.
The Brewers lost Ben Sheets but added a few reliable leftys with Doug Davis and Randy Wolf. Combined with the offensive upside of a lot of their young players the Brew Crew has the potential to make a run in 2010.
23. Blue Jays
The Blue Jays enter the 2010 season with Shaun Marcum as their ace, a far cry from Roy Halladay, who at least gave them a chance every fifth day. The Jays are nothing more than a sparring partner for the Yankees and Red Sox.
Miguel Tejada will be one of the few veterans on a team that features youngsters Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis. The Orioles should finish considerably better than the 64 wins they had in 2009.
The bright side for A’s fans is there are not a lot of players left that Billy Beane can trade away. On the other hand, Rajai Davis better hope that he’s renting.
The Astros will need Roy Oswalt to pitch like he used to if they hope to compete.
Look for Adrian Gonzalez to be wearing a Red Sox uniform by August.
This probably won’t be the year that the Nationals climb out of the NL East basement, and unfortunately like the AL East there are a few teams in the division that can spend far beyond the Nationals’ means, but with Ryan Zimmerman developing into one of the better third baseman in the game, Stephen Strasburg in the pipeline, and a few reliable veterans on the team don’t be surprised if the Nats make a run in the not too distant future.
The Royals have Zack Greinke and uh...and uh…and uh…another long season ahead of them.
The Pirates have been one of the worst teams in baseball for nearly two decades. They have not had a winning season in 17 years, the longest losing season streak of any team in the four major sports. They have finished last in their division 10 times. They trade away any and all of their top players and prospects at every trading deadline. This year should be more of the same. But Pittsburgh has won two Super Bowls and a Stanley Cup within the last five years so I guess there has to be some cosmic balance.