Quick, which was the last team other than the Yankees to win the AL East? Answer: the 1997 Orioles. It's been Groundhog Day in the division ever since, with the five teams finishing in the same order each season. That may finally change in 2004 with the arrival of many new players, several of them All-Star caliber. Here's a roundup of the key acquisitions so far in what has been the busiest division in the major leagues during the off-season.
TED LILLY, LHP
At 27 he's joining his fifth organization, but he's poised for a breakout season.
PAT HENTGEN, RHP
Former Cy Young winner ('96) healthy again; went 6-3 in second half of '03.
MIGUEL BATISTA, RHP
His 3.54 ERA last year was lowest among this winter's free-agent starters.
JAVIER VAZQUEZ, RHP
Workhorse who threw second-most pitches in '03 gets first crack at limelight.
KEVIN BROWN, RHP
Ground ball specialist with 2.39 ERA in '03 will get little help from suspect infield.
GARY SHEFFIELD, OF
High OBP and low strikeouts make him an ideal fit in the Yankees' order.
KENNY LOFTON, OF
Allows New York to move Alfonso Soriano out of the leadoff spot.