With the emergence of the Tampa Bay Rays last year, and, the loss of the formidable middle of the Red Sox lineup (manny and Ortiz put up ridiculous #s from 04-07) is it possible that the Yankees and Rays will be the major competitors for Division honors for the forseeable future?
Yes the Red Sox have Beckett and Lester, but after those two they have major questions about their rotation. Both the Rays and Yankees appear to match the Sox at the top of their respective rotations so the Sox vaunted starter depth may not translate.
And, with Ortiz on the downslide and Manny gone, are the Red Sox really likely to compete with the young Rays and loaded Yankee offenses - particularly if Bay leaves due to free agency?
Is it possible that 2008 marked a transition more toward the Rays being the Yanks chief competitors while the Red Sox struggle to regain the offensive fireopower and starter superiority over their main rivals in the AL East?