The AL (American League) East has operated under the same configuration since the 1998 season. In that year, the Detroit Tigers moved out of the division to allow expansion of the Tampa Rays. The division itself now consists, in alphabetical order, of the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Tampa Rays (formerly Devil Rays) and Toronto Blue Jays.
The East has been one of the most productive divisions in all of baseball, winning 5 World Series Championships in the last 11 seasons. He has also produced 7 of the 11 Wild Card playoff teams during this span. Looking at the results between divisions themselves, the New York Yankees won the division 9 times (3 World Series), followed by the Boston Red Sox (2 World Series). The only other team to win the division during this span has been the Tampa Rays. The other two divisional teams, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles, have not won the division since the 1998 reconfiguration, although Baltimore did win the division in 1997.
This division is unique within the majors, as two of the top payroll clubs, the Yankees and the Red Sox, generally rule. With their deep pockets, they can build ball clubs that can compete every year. The other teams in the division don’t have this luxury. In order for these remaining teams (Baltimore, Tampa, and Toronto) to compete, they need to use a “replenishment” philosophy, which basically consists of teaming up for one- or two-year races and then swapping personnel when it is too costly to maintain.
Simply put, this is the American League East. In 2008, the Tampa Rays were able to win the division with a low-cost, young core. The Rays should be able to compete for at least two more seasons at a reasonable cost, making the AL East a three-team powerhouse alongside the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.