As the weather continues to work towards the warm temperatures on summer, the air around Florida and Arizona is rapidly heating up. Residents of these states are very familiar with this time of year. Everyone else is also familiar with this glorious time of year. It is the time of year where all the talk switches to who will content for this year’s World Series and who will have bragging rights over their most hated rivals. This is the time of year when pitchers and catchers become the first to report to Spring Training. Although we are still 18 days away, you can already smell the fresh cut grass and hear the crack of the wooden bats. This is the time when all fans hold hope that this will be their year. For most fans, this hope will rapidly fade into hopeful sentiments that next year will be the year. But for a few, these hopes will gain traction and provide a roller coaster ride that lasts nearly 200 games.
As pitchers and catchers report, other position players will dominate the headlines for the majority of teams around the league. All offseason moves and rumors will be scrutinized by anyone who was any attachment to each team, but the joy still lights up the eyes of anyone who follows the game.
Some of the biggest stories that will be produced by offseason moves will be the acquisition of Josh Hamilton by Los Angeles, the complete overhaul of the Toronto Blue Jays, and the potential for the AL East being one of the most competitive leagues in recent memory.
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Josh Hamilton, the biggest offseason free agent, landed alongside Albert Pujols in the city of angels. That makes two straight years the Angels were able to land the hottest name on the market. With the emergence of Mike Trout as a MVP candidate for years to come, this lineup has just become all sorts of deadly. These three bats alone make the Angels one of the favorites to compete for a trip to the World Series.
Toronto made headlines across North American by being hands down the busiest team in the offseason. The pitching staff was quickly became one of the best in the majors with the pickup of R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, and Mark Beuhrle. The Blue Jays also solidified their infield with signing of superstar SS Jose Reyes. Reyes will bring speed and defense that Toronto has been missing. Another big pickup for Toronto was Melky Cabrera who completes a solid outfield for the Jays. These pieces should help Toronto compete in an AL East that is as deep as ever.
Speaking of the AL East, there is a legitimate shot that literally any team could come out on top of this loaded division. The defending champion New York Yankees always play a deciding part in this battle; however, the upstart Blue Jays and Orioles will most likely determine who will take this title. Boston is coming off a disastrous year that ended by shedding a ton of payroll and a head coach, but you can never count out the Red Sox. Tampa Bay is another heavy contender for the AL crown. The Rays have made a comfortable home near the top of the division for the past few years. With all these heavy hitter, it will be one of the most interesting races in a long, long time.
With the blink of an eye, it will be time for the Fall Classic. Do not miss any of these great stories and many more that unfold throughout the course of the season. You never know, this might just be your year.