AL East shoud produce offensive fireworks

The two teams with the biggest payrolls in the AL East, have the most talented quartets.

Updated: February 6, 2004, 8:44 AM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
Yesterday we looked at the most talented quartets in the National League. Owing to the equal opportunity oath all baseball writers must swear to, today we will do the same for the American League. Those with good memories will recall that the main criterion for qualification was that each member of the group had to have bested 20 Win Shares. It should probably not surprise anyone that the two teams with the biggest payrolls:

Alfonso Soriano
Alfonso Soriano will likely flourish with his new team.
New York Yankees: 118
Gary Sheffield (35), Jorge Posada (28), Jason Giambi (28), Alfonso Soriano (27)
The 2004 Yankees will be fielding no less than 10 players with a realistic shot at 20 Win Shares apiece. Aside from third base -- where Aaron Boone logged 23 including his numbers from Cincinnati before making himself irrelevant to the discussion with his basketball injury -- all of their position players and three of their pitchers have a legitimate chance at that goal, with a fourth hurler having an outside chance. They are:

C: Jorge Posada: At some point in the future, Posada is going to start feeling the inevitable effects of being a catcher moving through his thirties. Even if that point is in 2004, he's still got enough of a cushion to absorb some drop-off in performance and still be one of the best at his position. Even a 25 percent drop in productivity will land him on the good side of 20.

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at