Saturday, February 16, 2008

NL West: At a Glance.

Arizona Diamondbacks:
Manager: Bob Melvin - 4th season
Last Season: 90-72 1st place
Training Site: Tucson, AZ.
Park: Tucson Electric Park
He's Here: RHP Dan Haren, RHP Chad Qualls, INF Chris Burke
He's Outta Here: 1B Tony Clark, RHP Livan Hernandez, RHP Jose Valverde, OF Jeff DaVanon, INF Alberto Callaspo

Outlook: The Diamondbacks return just about everyone from their surprise 2007 team that had the NL's best record and beat the Cubs in the division series before being sweep by Colorado in the NLCS. They bolstered their rotation greatly by acquiring Haren from Oakland. Brandon Lloyd takes over as closer from Valverde, traded to Houston after leading the majors with 47 saves last season. One of the biggest questions this spring is the recovery of 3B Chad Tracy from microfracture knee surgery. The team does have MArk Reynolds at 3B. Another question is how LHP Randy Johnson, now 44, comes back from another back surgery.

Colorado Rockies:
Manager: Clint Hurdle - 7th season
Last Season: 90-73 2nd place, Wild Card, NL Champions
Training Site: Tucson, AZ.
Park: Hi Corbett Park
He's Here: OF Scott Podsednik, 2B Marcus Giles, 2B Jayson Nix, RHP Kip Wells, RHP Luis Vizcaino
He's Outta: 2B Kaz Matsui, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, INF Jamey Carroll, RHP Jorge Julio, LHP Jeremy Affeldt

Outlook: The NL champion Rockies have just one position up for grabs at spring training, secondbase. They lost Matsui to Houston in free agency. Candidates include former 1st-round draft pick Nix, ex-SS Clint Barmes, corner prospect Ian Stewart, and free agent signee Giles

San Diego Padres:
Manager: Bud Black - 2nd season
Last Season: 89-74 3rd place
Training Site: Peoria, AZ.
Park: Peoria Stadium
He's Here: OF Jim Edmonds, 2B Tadahito Iguchi, LHP Randy Wolf, RHP Mark Prior, INF Robert Fick
He's Outta: OF Milton Bradley, OF Mike Cameron, 2B Marcus Giles, INF Geoff Blum, 3B Morgan Ensberg

Outlook: The Padres have top pitchers, but the big question will be whether their popgun offensive can keep the squad contending after San Diego fell one win short of the playoffs. Unanimous NL CyYoung winner Jake Peavy got a $52 million, 3-year contract extension, the biggest deal in club history. On the flip side, OF Brian Giles is coming off microfracture surgery on his right knee, and Edmonds is coming off a subpar season after shoulder and toe surgeries, although he is returning to his native Southern California. Wolf had shoulder surgery, but he's ready to go as opposed to Prior, who won't be ready until mid-to-late May after shoulder surgery.

Los Angels Dodgers:
Manager: Joe Torre - 1st season
Last Season: 82-80 4th place
Training Site: Vero Beach, FL.
Park: Holman Stadium
He's Here: OF Andruw Jones, C Gary Bennett, RHP Hiroki Kuroda, RHP Chan Ho Park, RHP Tanyon Sturtze
He's Outta: Manager Grady Little, OF Luis Gonzalez, C Mike Lieberthal, RHP DJ Houlton, RHP Roberto Hernandez, RHP Chin-hui Tsao, LHP David Wells, INF Olmedo Saenz, INF Shea Hillenbrand, INF Mark Sweeney

Outlook: After managing the Yankees to 4 World Series championships during his 12-year tenure, Torre should command everyone's respect. The addition of Jones, a 10-time Gold Glove winner, figures to add much needed power and better defense. The rotation should be improved after getting Japanese star Kuroda and the hoped-for return of RHP Jason Schmidt, who underwent season-ending surgery last June. C Russell Martin became an All-Star last year in his first full big-league season, 1B James Loney displayed star potential after being recalled from the minors June 10th, and young OF Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier could follow suit. Kemp, Ethier, and Juan Pierre will compete for the corner outfield spots, and verteran Nomar Garciaparra will battle rookie Andy LaRoche for the 3B job. Otherwise, the Dodgers seem pretty set.

San Francisco Giants:
Manager: Bruce Bochy - 2nd season
Last Season: 71-91 5th place
Training Site: Scottsdale, AZ.
Park: Scottsdale Stadium
He's Here: OF Aaron Rowand, RHP Keiichi Yabu
He's Outta: OF Barry Bonds, 3B Pedro Feliz, 1B Ryan Klesko, RHP Scott Munter, RHP Russ Ortiz

Outlook: The post-Bonds era begins in San Francisco after the team decided not to bring back the home run king for a 16th season. That leaves a big void in the middle of the lineup, but also removes a cloud of controversy that has followed the team in recent years. With Bonds gone, the focus in San Francisco is on pitching and defense.

Spring Traing: At a Glance
AL East: At a Glance.


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