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|AL East breakdown|
2003 finish: 101-61, first place (+6), won ALCS, lost in six games in World Series to Florida.
Offseason transactions: Signed FA OFs Gary Sheffield and Kenny Lofton. Traded 1B Nick Johnson, OF Juan Rivera and LHP Randy Choate to Montreal for RHP Javier Vazquez. Traded RHP Jeff Weaver and RHP Yhency Brazoban to L.A. for RHP Kevin Brown. Lost FAs LHP Andy Pettitte and RHP Roger Clemens, RH reliever Jeff Nelson and OFs David Dellucci and Karim Garcia.
Rookies and other strangers: RH reliever Scott Proctor (2-0, 1.42 in Triple-A after acquisition from L.A.). RHP Jorge DePaula (10-11, Triple-A), RHP Sam Marsonek (4-4, Triple-A).
Significant 2003 statistics: Run Differential: +161. Scored 817 runs, allowed fewest (716) in division. OBP .356, Slug .453. Starters' ERA 83-42, 4.03, threw 1,066 innings, 90 more than any divisional rival. Bullpen 18-19, 4.02, 49-for-67 in save opportunities. Defense made 114 errors, allowed 63 unearned runs. Major spring training questions: Who plays third base? How does center field work between Lofton and Bernie Williams? Is Jose Contreras more comfortable in the rotation? Will George Steinbrenner begin his campaign on Joe Torre?
2004 team song: "Love Boat Captain."
2003 finish: 95-67, second place (-6), defeated Oakland in ALDS, lost to New York in ALCS.
Offseason transactions: Traded LHPs Casey Fossum and Jorge de la Rosa, RHP Brandon Lyon and OF Michael Goss to Arizona for RHP Curt Schilling. Signed FA reliever Keith Foulke and 2B Pokey Reese. Traded cash to Colorado for INF Mark Bellhorn. Signed FAs UTL Tony Womack and Terry Shumpert, 1B-OF Brian Daubach.
Rookies and other strangers: RHP Bronson Arroyo (12-6, Triple-A). Claimed or drafted: RHP Reynaldo Garcia, LHP Nick Bierbrodt, LHP Lenny DiNardo, RHP Colter (LL) Bean, C Michel Hernandez, LHP Mark Malaska, RHP Edwin Almonte, LHP Phil Siebel.
Significant 2003 statistics: Run Differential: +152. Led majors in runs, 961, as well as on-base and slugging, .360, .491, respectively. Starters were 65-40, 4.30, but threw only 959 2/3 innings. Bullpen was 30-27, 4.83, with 36 saves in 57 opportunities. Defense made 113 errors and allowed 80 unearned runs, most in the division, third worst in the league.
Major spring training questions: Since peace, love and understanding was so much a part of the '03 team, what will be the fallout from the aborted Manny Ramirez-Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra-Magglio Ordonez trades? How is David Ortiz's knee? Is Pedro Martinez stronger than he was at this time last year? Will Terry Francona be happy with Byung-Hyun Kim as his fifth starter? Can they find a second bullpen lefty from among the Bierbrodt-Siebel-DiNardo-Malaska contingent? Or will David McCarty become their Brooks Kieschnick?
2004 team song: "Meet Me at Mary's Place (exorcism version)"
2003 finish: 86-76, third place (-15).
Offseason transactions: Traded OF Bobby Kielty to Oakland for LHP Ted Lilly. Acquired RH reliever Justin Speier from Colorado. Signed FA RHP Miguel Batista and Pat Hentgen, and FA relievers Kerry Ligtenberg, Terry Adams and LH Valerio De Los Santos. Signed INF Chris Gomez. Lost FAs Kelvim Escobar, Cory Lidle.
Rookies and other strangers: OF-C Jayson Werth (.237, Triple-A). If there are injuries, during the season you could see OF Alexis Rios (.352, Double-A, MVP Puerto Rican League), C Guillermo Quiroz (.282, 20 HR, Double-A), RHP Dustin Magowan (12-6, A-AA), RHP David Bush (14-6, A-AA), RHP Jason Arnold (7-9, AA-AAA).
Significant 2003 statistics: Run Differential: +51. Tied Yankees with 877 runs. OBP .349, Slug .455. Stole only 37 bases. Starters were 69-53, 4.69 with 976 2/3 IP. Bullpen 17-23, 4.69, with 36 for 53 in save opportunities. Defense made 117 errors, most in division, allowed 78 unearned runs.
Major spring training questions: Can Josh Towers be at least a matchup fifth starter? How will the bullpen fit together? Can Werth be a fourth outfielder or third catcher?
2004 team song: "The Rising"
2003 finish: 71-91, fourth place (-30).
Offseason transactions: Signed FAs SS Miguel Tejada, C Javy Lopez, 1B Rafael Palmeiro, RHP Sidney Ponson and RH relievers Mike DeJean. Lost FAs Pat Hentgen, Jason Johnson and Rick Helling. Lost FAs 3B Tony Batista, SS Devi Cruz.
Rookies and other strangers: RHP Kurt Ainsworth (5-5, S.F.-Baltimore), LHP Erik Bedard (0-1, six appearances off surgery), LHP Matt Riley (9-4, AA-AAA), DH Jack Cust (.285, Triple-A), RHP Denny Bautista (12-9, A-AA).
Significant 2003 statistics: Run Differential: -87. Scored 743 runs, fourth worst in league. OBP fell to .323 in last six weeks, from .340 for four months. Hit 152 HR, fourth lowest. Starters were 54-62, 4.86 with 971 1/3 innings. Bullpen 17-29, 4.37 with 41 saves in 62 opportunities. Defense made 105 errors and allowed 53 unearned runs, fourth lowest AL number.
Major spring training questions: Who will emerge as the 3-4-5 starters, among Omar Daal, Ainsworth, Eric DuBose, Riley and Bedard? Are Bautista and John Maine close enough to be midseason starters? Is Cust ready to part-time DH?
2004 team song: "The Modern Age."
2003 finish: 63-99, fifth place (-38).
Offseason transactions: Signed FAs OF Jose Cruz Jr., RH relievers Danys Baez, 1B Robert Fick. Acquired LHP Mark Hendrickson, 2B Geoff Blum, 1B Tino Martinez in trades for minor-leaguers. Also signed: RHP Todd Jones, LHP John Halama, LHP Damien Moss, RH reliever Mike Williams, 3B Fernando Tatis, SS Devi Cruz, RHP Paul Abbott, LHP Trever Miller, OF/INF Eduardo Perez, RHPs Al and Carlos Reyes.
Rookies and other strangers: RHP Doug Waechter (8-6, AA-AAA). After a strong AFL, Dewon Brazleton may be back in the picture during the season. RHP Chad Gaudin (7-3, A-AA). OF Joey Gathright (.332, .408 OBP, 69 SB, A-AA).
Significant 2003 statistics: Run Differential -137. OBP .320, Slug. .404, third worst in league. Stole 142 bases. Starters were 37-70, 5.45, with 891 IP. Bullpen 26-39, 4.08, 30-for-55 in save opportunities. Defense made 103 errors, allowed 65 unearned runs.
Major spring training questions: Who will be the 4-5 starters after Jeremi Gonzalez, Victor Zambrano and Waechter? How will Lou Piniella piece the bullpen? What did Rocco Baldelli and Carl Crawford take out of their rookie seasons, and is Crawford ready to do what Piniella predicted, namely contend for the batting title?
2004 team song: "It takes about half a day to get there if we travel by my unicorn" (Jimi Hendrix, "Spanish Castle Magic")
(chorus) We're the first ones to starve, we're the first ones to die The first ones in line for that pie in the sky And we're always the last when the cream is shared out For the worker is working when the fat cat's about