SI.com is out with its Spring Training primers, and if you believe SI when it comes to the American League East the Yankees might as well pack their bags and go home now.
Here is SI's 'Scout's Take' on the three teams in the division that matter -- the Yankees, Tampa Bay and Boston.
On the Yankees.
"I'm sorry, I just don't see it: This is not a championship team. CC's performance in big games has to be a concern; I don't have much confidence in him in the big spot. You know Burnett's going to make a couple trips to the DL. The defense behind the pitching is still a horror show. With all this stuff going on with A-Rod, getting Teixeira was even bigger for them, because a lot of their problems last year were actually with scoring runs. [Jorge] Posada is such an important part of what they do, they need him to somehow stay in the lineup. They're going to struggle to get into the playoffs."
On the Rays.
"I don't think they'll drop off much, not with getting a full season out of David Price, who is the real deal. [Scott] Kazmir needs to learn how to pitch past the sixth. Overall, I love the starting pitching -- they're young and talented, and they're not going anywhere. The closer-by-committee doesn't worry me as much as it worries others because they've got quality arms there. I love Balfour. I think they're going to score more runs this year. Carlos Pena looked awful at the start of the year but got things turned around, and I think he's going to have a big season. I think the Pat Burrell signing was a very good one. He fits in well in that lineup. They're going to be good again, and they've got a chance to be better."
On the Red Sox.
"You have to like the gambles they took with Smoltz, Baldelli, and Penny. And don't forget Saito -- those guys could come up big for them down the stretch. They've got great starting pitching depth, and the bullpen is solid. If there's one thing I worry about it's their offensive production. I'm not 100 percent sure Youkilis can duplicate those numbers from last year, and I'm sorry, but David Ortiz is just not the same player. They can't count on him for 40 homers. Still, they're one of the two or three favorites to win the whole thing, no doubt."
Are you buying what SI is selling here? If so, that means another third-place finish for the Yankees.