NL West Report: Dodgers Bankrupt, in Cellar at Season Midpoint

The number once synonymous with Manny Mota has taken on a much more embarrassing tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

As you probably know now, the Dodgers have officially filed for Chapter 11 protection, more commonly known as bankruptcy. The same week, Frank McCourt's ballclub lost their toe-hold on fourth place, symbolically plopping in the cellar of the NL West.

It has been a tortuous season for everyone associated with the franchise, as even a historically magnificent season by Matt Kemp has not saved Los Angeles. It is so tragically horrifying, that not even fans of divisional rivals can enjoy the Dodgers downfall, as Grant Brisbee wrote last week. I predicted before the season that the Dodgers would surprisingly finish in second place, postulating that the "newness of the McCourt divorce has worn off," thereby eliminating the big off-field distraction that burned them in 2010.

I am going to have a hard time ever predicting anything else for the rest of my life that will turn out so wrong, so quickly. I can definitely say I completely underestimated the lack of financial responsibility of Frank McCourt. The Dodgers owner has not actually addressed the situation with the team, but I imagine if he walked into the clubhouse to do so, it would be exactly like this:

In other news, the teams in the division have all played 81 or 82 games, thereby placing them at the midpoint of the season.

NL West Standings

W L PCT GB STRK
San Francisco 46 36 .560 0 Lost 2
Arizona 44 38 .536 2 Lost 1
Colorado 39 42 .481 6.5 Lost 2
San Diego 37 45 .451 9 Won 4
Los Angeles 36 46 .439 10 Lost 2

(updated 6.30.2011 at 9:47 PM MDT)

My projected final standings were: 1) Colorado, 2) Los Angeles, 3) San Francisco, 4) San Diego, 5) Arizona.

Hey! I got one right!

Make sure to check out the team capsules after the jump. I do work so very hard on them.

NL West Report

Arizona (44-38, 2nd, L1, 2.0 GB)

Last Week: 2-4.  1-2 @ Tigers. 1-2 vs. Indians. Rockies fans might be able to take heart that a team ahead of them dropped both series against the two clubs Colorado beat in interleague.

You Should Know:  One might expect Arizona to limp into the All-Star Break. Only 3 of their final 19 games before the break are at home, and they already lost that series to Cleveland.

Divisional Change: Fell back into second place, two games behind San Francisco.

This Week: 3 game road series @ Athletics. 3 game road series @ Brewers. Game 1 of a 4 game road series @ Cardinals.

News: Buster Olney says the Diamondbacks covet Kerry Wood. I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise that a relief pitcher is near the top of Kevin Towers' wishlist.  Arizona will be able to add payroll at the deadline, giving them an advantage over the rest of the division.

Kerry Wood

#34 / Pitcher / Chicago Cubs

6-5

210

R

R

Jun 16, 1977

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Kerry Wood 1-3 24 0 0 0 0 3 24.0 23 10 6 2 10 21 2.25 1.38

I bet you've thought: All-Star Game, in July, in Arizona? Who wants suffer through go to that? The Diamondbacks have a plan for the heat. The event will be played with a closed roof, air conditioned at 78 degrees. They have also built a solar shade cover at the park's entrance with solar panels on the roof to provide power elsewhere. Plus, you know, they play regular season games there in July too.

The Tigers played the Diamondbacks last week, but neither Max Scherzer nor Daniel Schlereth got to face their former team.

AZSnakePit's blue bulldog wrote a piece highlighting the strength of the NL West: starting pitching. Whether it is in current rotations, the disabled list or the minors, the NL West arguably has the best starting pitching in MLB.

Transactions: Optioned RHP Esmerling Vasquez and RHP Bryan Shaw to AAA Reno and called up RHP Yhency Brazoban and LHP Alberto Castillo from AAA Reno (6/28). Released IF Melvin Mora (6/30).

Injuries:  All three Diamondbacks on the DL are active in a rehab assignment in the minor leagues.

Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Geoff Blum knee 03/22/2011
Juan Gutierrez trapezius 05/25/2011
Sam Demel shoulder 05/22/2011
Star-divide

Los Angeles (36-46, 5th, L2, 10.0 GB)

Last Week: 2-4. 1-2 vs. Angels. 1-2 @ Tigers.

You Should Know: As of Monday, 29 MLB teams combined for increase of 200,000 in attendance.The Dodgers were down 375,000.

Divisional Change: Fell into fifth and last place, a fitting occurrence given the rest of the news from Dodgertown this week.

This Week: 3 game road series @ Angels. 4 game home series vs. Mets.

News:  Did Bud Selig know Frank McCourt was ill-suited to be the owner of the Dodgers? Many argue he should have, but according to a memo sent by Selig in 2004, there were "no known problems or any other matter that raises a question as to (McCourt's) qualifications or suitability to own a major league club."

The embarrassment keeps on coming for the Dodgers finances, as the organization that brought us Jackie Robinson bounced payroll checks this week, including one that was less than $500.

It is an embarrassment that Frank McCourt is keeping private in all the wrong moments and public at all the wrong times. According to Davey Lopes, McCourt has not once addressed the situation with the players or coaches. The list of creditors is long, including Manny Ramirez, Andruw Jones and even Kaz Ishii, who hasn't pitched in Los Angeles in seven years.

Andruw Jones

#18 / Los Angeles Dodgers Payroll

6-1

230

Apr 23, 1977

Ever wonder how the Dodgers could have afforded the $5.25 million bonus to 1st round pick Zach Lee last year? Naturally, the bonus was rife with backloaded deferrals, spread over five years. I have personally made poor financial choices, not realizing the power of deferment quicksand. But this level of making the same significant mistakes consistently over seven years is confounding. No doubt I will use Frank McCourt as an example when teaching my children about financial responsibility.

The always fantastic Eric Stephen wrote of the bankruptcy here.

***

Despite several teams expressing interest, theDodgers have not engaged in serious talks regarding RP Hiroki Kuroda. It should be noted that Kuroda has a no-trade clause and would have to receive some form of compensation in order to waive it.

The Dodgers will undoubtedly be sellers, but they don't have many bats to sell. As Buster Olney wrote, James Loney and Casey Blake have next to no trade value, leaving Jamey Carroll as their best offensive realistic trade chip.

Jayson Stark says Mark Cuban faces many obstacles to being granted ownership of an MLB team, much less the Dodgers.

Transactions: None.

Injuries: Jonathan Broxton was shut down for three weeks following elbow soreness (6/28). SS Rafael Furcal is on rehab assignment in Class A. Rod Barajas will begin a rehab assignment tomorrow or Sunday.

Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Marcus Thames calf 07/01/2011

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Vicente Padilla neck 05/14/2011
Rod Barajas ankle 06/19/2011
Jon Garland shoulder 06/02/2011
Rafael Furcal oblique 06/04/2011
Jonathan Broxton elbow 05/04/2011

Star-divide

San Diego (37-45, 4th, W4, 9.0 GB)

Last Week: 5-1.  2-1 vs. Braves. 3-0 vs. Royals.

You Should Know:  The Padres have three pitchers on their roster with a K/9 over 10.0. If you said Heath Bell (6.88) and Mike Adams (9.91), you are absolutely wrong. Ever heard of Ernesto Frieri (10.62), Cory Luebke (10.02) or Josh Spence (11.25)? Ok, the last one is over just 5 IP, but the other two are legitimate.

Divisional Change: Moved into fourth place and gained one game on division leading San Francisco.

This Week: 3 game road series @ Mariners. 3 game road series @ Giants.

News: Maybe Chase Headley is the savior after all. After starting slowly, Headley has been phenomenal since May 1. In fact, Headley is ranked 11th in all of MLB in OBP, unbelievable considering his home park. Arguably, Headley deserves to start the All-Star game at third base, as his wRC+ of 133 is 20 points higher than any other National Leaguer at the hot corner.

Chase Headley

#7 / Third Base / San Diego Padres

6-2

200

B

R

May 09, 1984

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2011 - Chase Headley 79 268 32 80 22 0 2 29 40 61 8 2 .299 .394 .403

Tim Stauffer and Cory Luebke believe pitching in the bullpen first has helped them become better starting pitchers.

The Cardinals are trying to acquire Jason Bartlett and Heath Bell. There was a rumor that San Diego was asking for AA prospect Shelby Miller, but that would surely be too high of a price for St. Louis to bite.

Geoff Young wrote a piece for Baseball Prospectus, looking at how much the Padres and Rockies both are struggling at home. Both clubs utilize a home park at the extremes of run environments.

If you're a Rockies fan, you are probably disgruntled by Colorado's poor track record drafting in the first round. Troy Tulowitzki and Chris Nelson are the only 1st rounders in the last decade on the roster, and none since 2006 have reached the majors. The Padres track record, however, is much worse. Matt Bush was enough, but now 2009 3rd overall pick Donavan Tate has been suspended 50 games for a drug of abuse.

Transactions:  Recalled RHP Anthony Bass from AA San Antonio and optioned RHP Evan Schribner to AAA Tucson (6/26). Lost OF Luis Durango on waivers to Houston (6/29).

Injuries: Luke Gregerson threw a successful bullpen session (6/29). 3B Chase Headley has been battling a sore shoulder. Nick Hundley is day to day with fluid build up in his right elbow.

San Diego Padres Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Nick Hundley elbow 07/01/2011

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Aaron Harang foot 06/10/2011
Brad Hawpe fingers 06/19/2011
Luke Gregerson oblique 06/07/2011

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Joe Thatcher shoulder 03/22/2011
Mike Baxter thumb 03/22/2011

Star-divide

San Francisco (46-36, 1st, L2)

Last Week: 5-2.  3-0 vs. Indians. 2-2 @ Cubs.

You Should Know: Bruce Bochy gets final say in choosing his All-Star pitching staff and bench. He might utilize that power to nominate Matt Cain as an All-Star, who will likely be ineligible to pitch that day due to his regularly scheduled start. Then Bochy could, say, nominate Ryan Vogelsong as well.

Divisional Change: Regained first place and took a two game lead.

This Week: 3 game road series @ Tigers. 4 game home series vs. Padres.

News: Jonathan Sanchez opened the season as the Giants' #2 starter, and this week, he was tossed on the disabled list to make room for Barry Zito. Yes, I worded that as intended. As Grant Brisbee wrote last week, Sanchez doesn't seem to be as well received in San Francisco as his accomplishments suggest he ought to be. As a free agent after next season, with five other well-performing starting pitchers, one has to wonder about Sanchez' future in San Francisco.

Jonathan Sanchez

#57 / Pitcher / San Francisco Giants

6-0

200

L

L

Nov 19, 1982

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jonathan Sanchez 4-5 16 16 0 0 0 0 89.2 68 43 38 6 59 92 3.81 1.42
Catcher Hector Sanchez isn't ready to play at the big league level yet. Of course, if you just knew that he was 21 years old and started the season in A-ball, you'd probably know that too.
Ben Nicholson-Smith notes that the reliever Waldis Joaquin can file for free agency today if he isn't added to the 40-man roster. The Giants' 40-man is currently full, with no obvious players to remove.
Guess who was the most like the Ace of Aces, Justin Verlander, in the month of June.

Transactions:   None.

Injuries: Placed Jonathan Sanchez on the 15-day DL with a conveniently timed tendinitis injury (6/25). Activated LHP Barry Zito from the 15-day DL (6/25). Mike Fontenot and Brandon Belt joined AAA Fresno last night.

San Francisco Giants Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Freddy Sanchez shoulder 06/11/2011
Mike Fontenot groin 05/26/2011
Mark DeRosa wrist 05/19/2011
Jonathan Sanchez biceps 06/25/2011
Brandon Belt wrist 06/01/2011

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Buster Posey ankle 05/26/2011
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