First Posted: 2/28/2014
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
Los Angeles Dodgers
Manager: Don Mattingly (fourth season).
2013: 92-70, first place, lost to Cardinals in NLCS.
He’s Here: RHP Dan Haren, RHP Chris Perez, 2B Alexander Guerrero, RHP Jamey Wright, RHP Seth Rosin, INF Chone Figgins.
He’s Outta Here: 2B Mark Ellis, 2B-OF Skip Schumaker, INF Nick Punto, RHP Edinson Volquez, RHP Ricky Nolasco, RHP Ronald Belisario, 3B Jerry Hairston Jr., INF Michael Young, LHP Chris Capuano, RHP Carlos Marmol.
On Deck: The big-budget Dodgers had a mostly quiet offseason — at least in terms of additions. Their biggest acquisition was Haren, who got a $10 million, one-year deal. He’ll compete for a spot in a deep rotation that features Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu in the top three spots. RHPs Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley will try to bounce back from surgeries. Kershaw, coming off his second Cy Young Award at age 25, received a $215 million, seven-year contract that makes him baseball’s richest pitcher. CF Matt Kemp had two operations during the offseason and likely won’t be ready in time for the early season opener in Australia against Arizona. With Ellis gone, Guerrero will try to earn the starting job at second base. Another Cuban, Yasiel Puig, will command attention as he tries to follow up his stellar rookie season while facing questions about his maturity after an offseason arrest for speeding. Mattingly has a new three-year deal, shedding the lame-duck status that dogged him last year.
Manager: Kirk Gibson (fourth season).
2013: 81-81, second place.
He’s Here: OF Mark Trumbo, RHP Bronson Arroyo, RHP Addison Reed, OF Matt Tuiasosopo.
He’s Outta Here: OF Adam Eaton, LHP Tyler Skaggs, 3B Matt Davidson, RHP Heath Bell, SS Willie Bloomquist, C Wil Nieves.
On Deck: After consecutive .500 seasons, the Diamondbacks decided some power was needed to protect star 1B Paul Goldschmidt. So they acquired Trumbo from the Angels in a three-team trade that sent Eaton to the White Sox and Skaggs to the Angels. Trumbo hit 34 home runs last season. After Goldschmidt clocked 36, no other Arizona player had more than 14. Looking to add a front-line starter, GM Kevin Towers signed Arroyo to a $23.5 million, two-year contract as camp opened. One of the biggest stories this spring will be the competition at shortstop, where incumbent Didi Gregorius was superb on defense but faded at the plate last season. Chris Owings, just 22, hit .330 at Triple-A Reno before a late-season call-up. Veteran infielder Cliff Pennington can back up both at SS and 2B. Another issue is whether top pitching prospect Archie Bradley will make the opening day roster. The seventh overall pick in the 2011 draft, the hard-throwing 21-year-old has soared through the farm system. Still, the Diamondbacks may keep him in the minors at least to start the season.
San Diego Padres
Manager: Bud Black (eighth season).
2013: 76-86, tied for third place.
He’s Here: RHP Josh Johnson, RHP Joaquin Benoit, LHP Alex Torres, OF Seth Smith, SS Ryan Jackson, LHP Patrick Schuster.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Luke Gregerson, INF Logan Forsythe, INF-OF Jesus Guzman, OF Mark Kotsay.
On Deck: With the lineup and rotation pretty much set, the main competition during spring training will be for a few spots in the bullpen. The Padres hope their rotation can carry them to better results than the last three seasons, when they lost 91, 86 and 86 games. The rotation is expected to be Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross, Johnson and Eric Stults. The Padres are also keeping their fingers crossed that they can come out of spring training healthy and get off to a fast start rather than the slow starts that doomed them the last few years. LF Carlos Quentin had surgery on his right knee late last season, the third operation on that knee in 18 months, and said his legs feel good going into camp, an improvement over how he felt a year ago. C Yasmani Grandal continues to rehab from reconstructive knee surgery after being hurt in a collision at the plate in July. San Diego already had a setback when it was announced that LHP Cory Luebke needs a second reconstructive elbow surgery and will miss the 2014 season. He missed all of last season while rehabbing after having his first surgery in May 2012.
San Francisco Giants
Manager: Bruce Bochy (eighth season).
2013: 76-86, tied for third place.
He’s Here: RHP Tim Hudson, OF Michael Morse, RHP Kameron Loe, RHP David Huff, LHP Dontrelle Willis.
He’s Outta Here: LHP Barry Zito, OF Andres Torres, RHP Chad Gaudin, LHP Jose Mijares, OF Brett Pill, RHP Guillermo Moscoso, RHP Sandy Rosario.
On Deck: The Giants narrowly avoided becoming the second team to go from a World Series title to last place, beating out Colorado by two games last season. The pitching staff that anchored the club during its run of two championships in three seasons faltered last year, finishing 13th in the NL with a 4.00 ERA. Madison Bumgarner was the only consistent starter as Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong all struggled at times. The Giants re-signed Lincecum and Vogelsong after their down years, hoping they can rebound. Hudson, coming off a broken right ankle that cut his 2013 season short with Atlanta, should also help fortify the rotation. Morse provides a needed power bat in left field with 13 home runs in 312 at-bats last season, compared to a major league-low five homers by San Francisco’s left fielders in 2013. A big season from slimmed-down 3B Pablo Sandoval could also boost the offense.
Manager: Walt Weiss (second season).
2013: 74-88, fifth place.
He’s Here: LHP Brett Anderson, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, LHP Boone Logan, LHP Franklin Morales, RHP Jordan Lyles, OF Brandon Barnes, 1B Justin Morneau, OF Drew Stubbs.
He’s Outta Here: 1B Todd Helton, INF Jonathan Herrera, OF Dexter Fowler, LHP Josh Outman, LHP Jeff Francis, RHP Rafael Betancourt, RHP Roy Oswalt, C Yorvit Torrealba, LHP Drew Pomeranz.
On Deck: The Rockies were quite active this offseason, making several splashy trades and signing Morneau to take over at 1B for the retired Helton. Morneau doesn’t view it as filling Helton’s cleats, though, because Helton is “irreplaceable, the impact he had in the clubhouse,” Morneau explained. Helton hung ‘em up after 17 seasons in the Mile High City as the team’s career leader in virtually every offensive category. The biggest area the Rockies shored up over the winter was their pitching staff, adding a starter in Anderson and bolstering the bullpen by signing Hawkins and Logan. They also reacquired Morales in a deal with Boston. Colorado’s relief corps struggled in 2013, posting an NL-worst 4.23 ERA. Carlos Gonzalez is expected to move from left field to center after Fowler was traded to Houston. Gonzalez underwent an emergency appendectomy in early January, but recently posted on his Twitter account, “Who’s ready for Baseball? Can’t wait!” Gonzalez hit 26 homers with 70 RBIs in 110 games last season, but was limited after the All-Star break by a nagging finger injury.