With the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opening their seasons a week early down under, Arizona is the first team to report to camp with all of their players arriving today. For those who don't want to read the article, the two teams will play their first two games of the season a week prior to everyone else, then come back to the States for one week of spring training prior to resuming games that count. Spring training schedules for all teams can be found here as reported by our Bryan Kilpatrick.
With that in mind, I bring you a quick recap of what all of the other NL West teams have done in the off-season as we should start hearing news about what new addition will be the key for each team as they succeed or fail in early training camp practices. We will have more detailed scouting reports for you as the season approaches but this should catch you up if you haven't been keeping track of the competition in the off-season.
Biggest Addition: The D-backs traded away Tyler Skaggs to get Mark Trumbo from the Los Angeles Angels this off-season. The 28 year old who will have to focus on the outfield after being mostly a first baseman is coming off career highs in home runs (34) and RBIs (100). This is a bit deceiving because these highs come from him having the most plate appearances in his career. 2013 was actually his worst full year in batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage while he set a new personal high for strikeouts with 184.
Biggest Addition: While the contract for Kershaw and their losing out on Tanaka may be their biggest headlines, the Dodgers biggest addition is likely to be Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero. The 26 year old shortstop, who will be converting to second base was able to defect on a boat to Haiti and LA rewarded him with a four year, $28 million contract. It remains to be seen how he will impact a team that already has found success with Cuban Yasiel Puig.
Other moves: Most exciting for Rockies fans was the announcement from the Dodgers that Jerry Hairston Jr. is retiring. He has always seemed to be a thorn in the Rockies' side. The Dodgers also resigned former Rockie Juan Uribe (3B) and brought in one-time Rockie Miguel Olivo (C) on a minor league deal.
Biggest Addition: The Padres chose to give starting pitcher Josh Johnson a one year $8 million deal after his dissapointing season with Toronto last year. Prior to 2013 though, Josh had been a solid starter for the Florida/Miami Marlins. It will be interesting to see if his return to the National League will see a return to form or if his best days are behind him. Lifetime he has a 1.40 ERA in seven games against Colorado and in his one start against the Rockies last year he pitched 7.1 scoreless innings so he is not someone I wanted coming to the division.
Other moves: San Diego has been busy this winter. They have added several players, including: Alex Torres (LHP) and Jesse Hahn (RHP) from the Rays, Ryan Jackson (SS) and Patrick Schuster (LHP) from the Astros, Devin Jones (RHP) from the Orioles, and Alex Dickerson (OF) from the Pirates. They have also traded away a corresponding number of players, but their biggest lost may be Clayton Richard who filed for free agency.
Biggest Addition: The Giants will be looking for the fountain of youth after signing 38 year old Tim Hudson to a two-year deal that will see him turn 40 during the second year of the contract. While Hudson has a long history of success and pitched well last season, albeit in only 21 starts, something tells me that the Braves wouldn't have let him go if they thought he was worth the money.
Other moves: Just when the Rockies were figuring out Barry Zito, the Giants decided to let him go this winter. Their only other acquisition of note is OF/1B Michael Morse who garnered some interest from Rockies fans this past fall. He has had some good seasons but how will he do after only playing in 88 games last year?
There you have it, just a brief update on each team. Hopefully this will help you wade through all of the spring training news that will start inundating us in the next week.
No big Rockies news out there but here are some tidbits from around the league:
Former Rockie manager Clint Hurdle talks about enjoying life in Pittsburgh, winning a pennant, and any other myths that he can come up with.