AL East Notes: Price, Lester, Tanaka

Happy birthday to the legendary Yogi Berra, who turns 89 years old today.  Arguably the greatest catcher in baseball history, Berra won three AL MVP Awards and 10 World Series titles in 18 seasons with the Yankees, plus he added three more Series rings as a coach with the Yankees and Mets.  Here’s the latest from around the AL East…

  • There’s still time for the Rays to turn things around, but if their early-season struggles continue, FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi wonders if the club will be forced to trade David Price.  Beyond just adding some needed minor league talent to the Rays’ system, a Price trade could have an even larger impact on the franchise as Morosi wonders if owner Stuart Sternberg would explore selling the team if faced with going through a rebuilding phase.
  • At age 30, Jon Lester is on pace for the best season of his career, which WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford notes is another example of how ace pitchers often take years to fully master their craft.  As such, it could take years for any of the young arms in the Red Sox farm system to be able to replace Lester should the southpaw leave Boston in free agency this winter.
  • Masahiro Tanaka has been an instant hit as a Yankee, which even came as a bit of a surprise to Brian Cashman, the general manager told CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.  “I would have expected a transition to some degree. You always expect a transition period coming to New York, even if it’s just coming from another city (in MLB). Here, he’s coming from Japan, where they have a different pitching schedule and different travel,” Cashman said.  Tanaka has exceeded expectations thus far in his first exposure to American baseball, as Cashman noted that the Yankees only projected Tanaka as “a solid No. 3” starter who could possibly be a No. 2.

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