It is no surprise that a team that has won two of the last three World Series has a good farm system, but the discrepancy between how the system, and indeed the franchise, is perceived, and what it actually is remains significant. Posey and Sandoval are hardly unknown. The former was handily elected NL MVP and has ended both of his full seasons in the big leagues by catching the last strike of the World Series. He is one of the faces of the Giants and is poised to become one of the game's most visible and marketable stars Sandoval, for his part, has a colorful nickname, and was the MVP of the World Series last year. Belt, however, despite an equally colorful nickname remains virtually unknown outside of San Francisco. While Posey is generally known as a star player, Sandoval is still at least as well-known for his weight as for his hitting while Belt is probably still seen as a disappointment to many fans because like many players who derive much of their value from drawing walks, he is under-appreciated.
Although the Yankees are on pace for another playoff berth with one of the best records in baseball, the team has had numerous injuries and a few slow starts, so some fans are beginning to worry and question recent decisions. The dominant view of their off-season moves is that they probably gave up too much for Curtis Granderson and were foolish to think Nick Johnson could stay healthy for a whole season. According to this view, Austin Jackson, who was traded for Granderson, and Johnny Damon who left via free agency are both posting good numbers and would have been useful to the Yankees.
In recent days the Red Sox and Phillies have improved their chances of stopping the Yankees from defending their championship. The Phillies came within two wins of winning the World Series in 2009 and by adding Roy Halladay, while losing Cliff Lee, have made the top of their rotation stronger. John Lackey gives the Red Sox one of the best and deepest rotations in baseball, while the signing of Mark Cameron helps offset the almost certain loss of Jason Bay; and Marco Scutaro will be a big upgrade at shortstop. Dumping Mike Lowell will also help the team. It seems likely that the Red Sox are not quite done yet this off-season and may add another corner infield bat. Other teams, notably the Seattle Mariners have made some big moves, in the Mariners case the acquisition of Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins, that may allow them to emerge as a strong contender in 2010.