AL East season preview

Forget the Red Sox, can the Yankees keep up with the Rays?

Updated: March 29, 2011, 11:17 AM ET
ESPN The Magazine
Cliff Welch/Icon SMIWith a fully-healthy Dustin Pedroia back in the mix, the Red Sox have no obvious weakness.

As Mick Jagger famously sang, "You can't always get what you want." It's true even when you're the Yankees and can outspend anyone. New York fans were shocked when free agent and 2008 AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee -- who was all but penciled into the NY rotation -- signed with the Phillies, leaving the Yanks scrambling for starters in the wake of Andy Pettitte's retirement. Without Lee, Derek Jeter & Co. are a cut below the Red Sox, who added All-Stars Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to a roster that won 89 times in 2010, despite being decimated by injuries.

The real drama could be at the bottom of the division, where the Orioles -- who brought on slick-fielding shortstop J.J. Hardy, 40-home run threat Mark Reynolds and nine-time All-Star Vladimir Guerrero this off-season -- might have the goods to snap a 13-year streak of losing seasons, longest in the AL.