In my quest for a new team, all criteria other than sabremetric over-analysis will be fair game. The team's time zone, reported availability of quality single women, potential as a vacation destination, number of former Twins on the roster, and funniness of cynical bloggers may all be considered. Who knows what else I might think of? Let's start by assessing the American League East for it's potential.
The Orioles intrigue me. In a league of Kansas Cities and Pittsburghs, they have quietly been one of the losingest franchises since the Brady Anderson era. Yet, 2011 might be a year they can enter with some optimism. Watching the Orioles finish in 3rd place with 83 wins sound more exciting than a division series sweep.
Boston Red Sox
I don't keep too close of tabs on the Red Sox. That's mostly because everybody hopped their bandwagon thinking the Sox are the anti-Yankees. In reality, they are the Yankees. At any rate, they have a young star or two flanked by above-average veterans. They're pitching staff isn't in very good shape. If they were my only choice, I think I'd be coming back to Minnesota in hurry. Young, Mauer, and Morneau are a better nucleus than anything in Boston.
New York Yankees
No, they are not automatically excluded just by virtue of being the Yankees. But they just signed a 36-year-old shortstop who is only a marginal improvement over your Yuniesky Betancourts to a how many year deal with worth how many million? They're also similar to the Red Sox, though the veterans are somewhat better. I'm not sure what they have for young talent. Regardless, the best they can hope for is another AL Central title for the Twins. On the other hand, there is some pretty good food in the Big Apple and it's been a few years since I've been there.
Tampa Bay Rays
They just traded Bartlett. A few days ago, in a news article, I noticed that the greatest athlete of all-time was wearing a Rays jersey. If Hulk Hogan lives in Clearwater and thinks the Rays are the team, it's tough to argue. Starting pitcher Matt Garza puts a flying elbow drop on that case, though. Then again, Brad Radke also lives in Clearwater, so there's always a chance that all-time favorite baseball player could wander out to the mound and pitch 8 innings, allow three hits and one run, and claim he didn't have his best stuff. Rays Manager Joe Maddon tends to favor common sense over managing by the book.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are the number one contender among American League teams. First, I already have the hat. Second, you can pretty much refer to my earlier post about how they are basically the same as the Twins. If they can hold the offense anywhere near last season's level and stabilize the pitching rotation, they could leap into relevance.
Overall, I'm hesitant to pick a team in the AL East. With the patient hitters, the games last so long that they'll end after my bed time. Also, I am curious about National League baseball. Is it really as different as all the hype? Is managing with a pitcher in the lineup really as difficult as AL Managers (of the Year) make it look in inter-league games?