|Offseason report card: NL West|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on January 09, 2008
Gained:Â Danny Haren (Trade), Chad Quallis (Trade), Chris Burke (Trade), Juan Gutierez (Trade), Connor Jackson (Trade), Billy Buckner (Trade)
Lost:Â Top prospects, Jose Valverde, Carlos Quenitin (all to trade)
Itâ€™s not about down the road, but about the immediate future in Arizona and the Dâ€™Backs arenâ€™t laying low.Â In the battle for big pitchers the Diamondbacks got perhaps the second biggest gem on the trade market (after Johan Santana) and the only one whoâ€™s actually switched teams thus far.Â That give the Dâ€™Backs the best one -two punch in the NL and maybe in the whole majors, and Brandon Webb and Danny Haren will lead that charge.Â Â
That being said, the Diamondbacks offense is young, talented, and very questionable.Â Â They scored fewer runs than the opposition last season and won the division despite that.Â If the offense manages to grow up they will be the team to beat in the NL.
Gained:Â Luis Vizcaino (Free Agency), Kip Wells (Free Agency), Jose Capellan (Trade), Josh Towers (Free Agency).
Lost:Â LaTroy Hawkins (Free Agency), Kaz Matsui (Free Agency), Denny Bautista (Trade), Jamey Carroll (Trade)
The Rockies main goal for the offseason was pretty simple, replace the pitching they were going to lose to free agency.Â Â That wasnâ€™t going to be hard when most of the names you were going to lose were luminaries like Jorge Julio, Josh Fogg and Elmer Dessens.
So far theyâ€™ve filled the spots well with pitchers like Josh Towers and Kip Wells taking over the starting spots while relievers Luis Vizcaino and Jose Capellan will be plugged into the bullpen.
The loss of Kaz Matsui could be a problem but the Rox think they have it covered by the young Omar Qintanilla.Â Â Their confidence in youngsters means they probably wonâ€™t make a move to fill his slot.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Gained:Â Andruw Jones (Free Agency), Hiroki Kuroda (Free Agency), Gary Bennett (Free Agency)
Lost:Â Randy Wolf (Free Agency)
The gain-loss statements up above doesnâ€™t really tell the whole story, since the Dodgers lost a lot of veterans to free agency but the good news for Dodger fans is that most of the guys lost were not big contributors to the team last year.
Basically the Dodgers needed offense and pitching and theyâ€™ve gambled and reached a bit to try to plug the holes.Â Â Potential slugger or potential sluggard Andruw Jones will eitehr be a great signing or a total bust.Â Â Theyâ€™ve also gambled on starting pitcher HirokiÂ Kuroda whoâ€™s coming over from Japan.Â Thats a big gamble for the Dodgers, but since they wonâ€™t be a favorite to win the division in 08 they might as well see what these guys can do.
Verdict:Â Neutral (this could have been a winner but paying Andruw Jones to a two year $36.2 million contract really is a reach even if he hit .280 with 35 home runs next season).
San Diego Padres
Gained:Â Tadahito Iguchi (Free Agency), Jim Edmonds (Trade), Randy Wolf (Free Agency), Mark Prior (Free Agency), Carlos Guevera (Trade)
Lost:Â Milton Bradley, (Free Agency), Rob Mackowiak (Free Agency)
At the end of the season the Padres could see some serious holes coming up in their lineup.Â Â Mike Cameron was a free agent, as was Marcus Giles and Brett Tomko.Â Â That left the team needing a pitcher, a second baseman and a outfielder with some power.
And all of those needs have essentially been filled by the signing of Iguchi, Jim Edmonds and Randy Wolf - Mark Prior was a serious bonus.Â Iguchi is an upgrade but the rest have some question marks attached.Â Still a healthy Prior and Wolf would make the Padres a much better team.
Verdict:Â Undecided - much depends on the health of the new additions.
San Francisco Giants
Gained: Aaron Rowand (Free agency)
Lost:Â Barry Bonds (decided not to re-sign)
After so many years of turning a blind eye to Barry and trying to piece a team together around him the Giants have finally decided to change directions.Â Â Aside from Bonds the team is has a lot of known players looking to sign contracts elsewhere.Â Â Pedro Feliz, Ryan Klesko and Russ Ortiz are all free agents and itâ€™s a fair bet that the Giants wonâ€™t compensate for Barry on the Free Agent market.
Still the Rowand signing isnâ€™t a bad one, but this team on paper looks even worse than they did in â€™07.