With the heated contract negotiations between Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees now a distant memory...it is safe to turn our attention to what is probably the biggest milestone on the horizon this baseball season, right?
Let's face it, Jeter cementing himself as one of the (if not the) greatest Yankee of all-time is going to turn a few heads.
And with 2926 hits...I know I'll be watching the boxscores, counting down to 3000 right alongside everyone else.
But enough about Jeter...let's focus on the AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST.
When Buck Showalter took over the O's last season, he proved to many that he could still win. Of course, with 916 career victories...we're probably going to be waiting until the last week of the season to see whether or not the skipper will get to 1000.
Newly acquired Vladimir Guerrero brought his bat to the crowded AL East set on adding to his already Hall of Famer worthy statline. Right now, dude is on the cusp of 2500 hits, 450 home runs and 1500 RBI...sitting at 2427, 436 and 1433 respectively.
Last season, because of injuries, second baseman Brian Roberts played in just 59 games. While still plagued by said injuries, the All-Star is looking to get back to form...amassing extra base hits 50 or more doubles at a time. Should “B-Rob” hit that mark again, he’ll be one of only two players (Hall of Famer Tris Speaker is the other) with four seasons with 50 or more doubles.
BOSTON RED SOX
There's been a lot of talk about the Red Sox and their expectations this upcoming season. That said, the oldest player in the Majors, pitcher Tim Wakefield, is on the verge of a few milestones...both good and, well, dubious.
With 193 career victories, the knuckleballer is staring down 200. His Wakefield’s 175 wins in Boston is just behind Cy Young and Roger Clemens’ 192 on the all-time Red Sox list. But getting 17 Ws out of Wakefield this season (or the next two for that matter), might be a pipedream.
On the flipside of the coin...Wakefield is just seven longballs away from becoming just the 12th pitcher to have surrended 400 home runs.
Speaking of the dubious, with 1842 career strikeouts, centerfielder Mike Cameron sits tenth all-time…100 away from cracking the top five.
And since I brought it up with Showalter earlier...it warrants mentioning that Sox skipper Terry Francona is 61 wins away from career victory number 1000.
NEW YORK YANKEES
Every year, the Yankees seem to have something to celebrate and 2011 is no exception. You've already heard about Derek Jeter chasing down 3000 hits.
How about all the ghosts Alex Rodriguez is chasing?
With 613 career home runs, "A-Rod" is only 18 homers from being fifth all-time. His 1831 RBI puts him 17th all-time, but should he get to 100 this season (something that's not happened only once), he'll jump into eighth place. Lastly, Rodriguez is, by far, the active leader in runs scored with 1757. With 90 runs scored...he'll end the season 13th all-time.
On the other side of the diamond, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira is closing in on 1500 hits, 300 home runs and 1000 RBI. Currently, he's at 1321, 275 and 906. A duplication of either one of his two seasons in the Bronx should push him past the milestones.
Almost as important (arguably, it might be MORE impressive) as the Jeter milestone is what Mariano Rivera is closing (see what I did there?) in on. At 559 career saves, he's 43 saves away from becoming the all-time leader in the category.
Can he do it?
He's topped 43 or more six times in his career...so it isn't out of the realm of possibility.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
Thank God the Rays decided to capture 2004 lightning in a bottle when the signed Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon or they would be merely a footnote when discussing milestones.
There's no reason to think that Ramirez won't continue his assault on the record books. He might not reach 3000 career hits (he's currently at 2573) anytime soon...but with 555 career home runs and 1830 RBI, he's poised to be well entrenched atop many career lists for a long time.
With 2571 hits, Ramirez's partner in crime Damon might get to 3000 for his career. It won't happen for a few years...but it could happen if a resurgence in Tampa Bay is in the cards.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
At 6'11"...pitcher Jon Rauch is the tallest player in the Majors. He now calls Toronto home! Not good enough for you? Well...the Jays aren't exactly the most exciting team in the world now are they?