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NL West Report: Division's Top, Bottom Teams Hog the Stars

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As of yesterday, the final roster spots were selected by fans for the 2011 All-Star Game in Phoenix.  Probably not surprisingly, the defending World Series champs and current division leading San Francisco Giants will be sending the most players to Arizona on Tuesday.  

What is and perhaps should not be surprising is that Bruce Bochy's club will have more representatives than the next three teams in the division combined.  Bochy certainly flexed his legal nepotism muscles in choosing Ryan Vogelsong, who has been great, but has just 24 IP more than Clayton Mortensen and is ranked 33rd in the National League in fWAR.  

Then there is the Dodgers, haplessly flailing about as their ownership melts around them.  That team, with the worst record in the division and third worst in the record in the NL, is primed to send three players.  Although Andre Ethier placed second in the Final Vote, if the winner Shane Victorino is unable to play, his replacement would be Ethier.

Is that fair? Actually, yes.   Just as the Rockies were built with three superstars having career years and a bunch of schlubs, the Dodgers have three players on course to shatter career years, elite for their position.

Take a look at the NL West All-Stars.  Each player is garnished with his to-date fWAR, and where that ranks in the NL for his position:

San Francisco

Matt Cain - SP (2.9, 9th)
Tim Lincecum - SP (3.2, 6th)
Ryan Vogelsong - SP (1.4, 33rd)
Brian Wilson - (0.8, 15th)


Justin Upton - OF (3.1, 7th)



Troy Tulowitzki - SS (3.7, 2nd)


San Diego 

Heath Bell - RHP (0.8, 13th)


Los Angeles

Matt Kemp - OF (4.5, 2nd)
Clayton Kershaw - SP (3.6, 3rd)
Andre Ethier, pending - OF (2.4, 12th)


Arizona has the biggest beef with its representation, as Ian Kennedy and Miguel Montero should have been no nonsense selections, especially for a team making as much noise as they are in the W column. No one else in the division really qualified as a snub though.  Todd Helton, Carlos Gonzalez and Chris Iannetta missed out on the fun as well, though their omissions were extremely defensible.  Chase Headley was predictably unnoticed for his work at the hot corner due to PetCo Park and a lack of home runs, and Cameron Maybin had a decent argument for inclusion.  

Update:  Now the word is Bruce Bochy DOES have the discretion to choose Shane Victorino's replacement, so Ethier is not guaranteed a selection.  Will it be Ethier?  Andrew McCutchen?  Pablo Sandoval?

What do you think of the division's All-Stars?


Team capsules after the jump!  **tra la la la la**

NL West Report

Arizona (48-41, 2nd, L1, 2.0 GB)

Last Week: 4-3.  1-2 @ Athletics.  2-1 @ Brewers.  1-0 @ Cardinals.  

You Should Know:  Arizona finished the interleague season with a division high 10 wins.  They are the only NL West team with a winning record vs the NL East and NL Central...but their 12 wins in the division are tied with Los Angeles for the least.

Divisional Change:  No change.

This Week:  Final three games of a 4 game road series @ Cardinals.  All-Star Break.  

News:  If you haven't noticed, Ian Kennedy is having himself a fantastic season and is lining up for a nice extension.  In fact, as MLBTR's Mike Axisa pointed out, Kennedy deserves at least as much as Ricky Romero, who signed a 5-year, $30.1mil extension with Toronto last August.

Ian Kennedy

#31 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks





Dec 19, 1984

2011 - Ian Kennedy 8-3 19 18 1 1 0 0 122.1 107 48 46 12 32 103 3.38 1.14

Justin Upton (14 HR) was really hoping to participate in the All-Star Home Run Derby in front of his home town fans.  Instead, captain Prince Fielder chose 2B teammate Rickie Weeks (15 HR), and OFs Matt Holliday (13 HR), and Matt Kemp (22 HR).  Upton really would have been a great choice regardless of his uniform.  He claims no hard feelings, but unless he leaves Arizona, he won't have that chance again.

In keeping with a lifelong goal, Kevin Towers wants more bullpen help.  Of course he does.  Street for Skaggs?  Worth asking...Buster Olney thinks Rich Harden makes sense.  

Transactions:  Called up IF Sean Burroughs from AAA Reno (7/1).  

Injuries:  Placed closer RHP J.J. Putz on the 15-day DL with elbow tendinitis and activated RHP Sam Demel from the 15-day DL.

Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Geoff Blum knee 03/22/2011
Juan Gutierrez trapezius 05/25/2011
J.J. Putz elbow 06/29/2011

Day to Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Chris Young thumb 07/07/2011

Los Angeles (38-51, 5th, W1, 12.0 GB)

Last Week: 2-5. 1-2 @ Angels.  1-3 vs. Mets.   The Dodgers are 0-7 in their last ten games in which they give up more than zero runs.   Their last three wins were shutouts.

You Should Know:  In his filing to depose MLB exececutives, Frank McCourt misspelled Bud Selig's given name three times.  That's not the way to get in favor with the one man McCourt desperately needs to.  Selig denied McCourt's Fox deal, claiming the Dodgers would be in financial trouble by 2013 anyway.

Divisional Change:  Fell two games further behind first place San Francisco.  

This Week: 3 game home series vs. Padres.  All-Star Break

News:  The Rockies and Padres aren't the only NL West teams who suddenly forgot how to tap into their home field advantage.  As Eric Stephen recently wrote at TrueBlueLA, the Dodgers currently 20-27 record at Dodger Stadium has them dangerously close to the pace for their worst home record in Dodger Stadium history.  While the Rockies got swept yesterday for just the first time all season, the Dodgers won yesterday to avoid being swept for the fourth time in home!

Mike Axisa points out that the Dodgers have saved $20million thanks to injuries in the form of now impossible vesting options for Rafael Furcal and Jon Garland.

While Furcal's injuries were not shocking, the Garland savings was a surprise.  The veteran needed only to reach 190IP to cash in on $8million in 2012, a total he reached in nine consecutive seasons.  Instead, after making just nine starts (and $5mil), Garland will undergo season ending surgery on his shoulder next week. 

Jon Garland

#21 / Pitcher / Los Angeles Dodgers





Sep 27, 1979

2011 - Jon Garland 1-5 9 9 1 0 0 0 54.0 55 26 26 6 20 28 4.33 1.39

Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers won't sell pieces for another two weeks.  Hiroki Kuroda and Jamey Carroll will be coveted.  Just don't be expecting Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier or Chad Billingsley to be going anywhere.

Speaking of which, a rival executive told Buster Olney that the Dodgers waited too long to sign Kemp and Ethier to extensions and will have to pay a higher price after the season.

The Dodgers owe $74million to 40 creditors, which exceeds their $31million commitment for 2012 payroll by more than double.

Eric Stephen brought back bitter bittersweet memories for Dodgers fans last week by highlighting Los Angeles' best ever Home Run Derby participant - Hee Seop Choi.

Transactions:  Optioned SS Dee Gordon and called up UT Eugenio Velez (7/4).  With Furcal returning from the disabled list, Gordon was shipped out to continue getting regular playing time, in AAA Albuquerque.

Injuries:  Placed 3B Casey Blake on the 15-day DL with an arthritic neck and activated SS Rafael Furcal from the 15-day DL (7/5).  C Rod Barajas (ankle) began taking fielding drills Wednesday and should return soon after the All-Star Break.  Aaron Miles is day-to-day with an elbow contusion after being hit by a pitch (7/6).  Andre Ethier missed Tuesday's game with a fever and migraine.  Jon Garland is out for the season.

Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Aaron Miles elbow 07/07/2011


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Casey Blake neck 07/03/2011
Vicente Padilla neck 05/14/2011
Rod Barajas ankle 06/19/2011
Jon Garland shoulder 06/02/2011
Jonathan Broxton elbow 05/04/2011


San Diego (40-49, 4th, W4, 10.0 GB)

Last Week: 3-4.  1-2 @ Mariners.  2-2 @ Giants.  The Padres managed to score 5 runs in three consecutive games against the Giants, against Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner.  They then scored just one run off Barry Zito.

You Should Know:  The Padres have not been further than 10.5 games out of first place since the end of 2009.

Divisional Change:   Fell to ten games out of first place.

This Week:   3 game road series @ Dodgers.  All-Star Break.

News: Nick Hundley's season started like a dream, as he was among the league leaders in most offensive categories in the season's first two weeks.  Slowed by a strained oblique, the Padres catcher now has loose particles in his right elbow.  Hundley will have arthroscopic surgery today, forcing him to miss another 3 to 6 weeks. 

Nick Hundley

#4 / Catcher / San Diego Padres





Sep 08, 1983

2011 - Nick Hundley 45 153 15 34 5 1 3 15 16 46 0 0 .222 .302 .327
The Padres will undoubtedly be sellers, but until losing two close games to the Giants, San Diego had won 10 of 13 games.  As Ken Rosenthal noted, that doesn't make now a good time to sell.  Of course, the sale will be inevitable, and the Padres are already listening to offers for relievers.
The Brewers and Cardinals continue to line up in hopes of landing Heath Bell or Mike Adams, though they aren't the only ones likely to be dealt from the Padres.  The Indians will be looking for an outfielder, and Paul Hoynes suggests Ryan Ludwick would be a good fit for Cleveland.  Ludwick struggled in parts of three seasons in Cleveland 2003-05.

Transactions:  None.

Injuries:  Placed LHP Clayton Richard on the 15-day DL with a strained left shoulder and activated RHP Luke Gregerson from the 15-day DL (7/5).  LHP Joe Thatcher is targeting an early August return.  RHP Aaron Harang has commenced fielding drills and should return today.

San Diego Padres Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Aaron Harang foot 06/10/2011
Brad Hawpe fingers 06/19/2011
Clayton Richard shoulder 07/05/2011

60 Day DL / Out for the season

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


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

Last Week: 4-3. 2-1 @ Tigers.  2-2 vs. Padres

You Should Know:  Ryan Vogelsong is the first player in MLB history to be named to an All-Star team after four seasons away from the league for non-military reasons in his first year back in the league.

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

This Week:  3 game home series vs. Mets.  All-Star Break.

News:  Pablo Sandoval hasn't missed a beat upon returning from the disabled list, hitting safely in 22 of his 23 games since his activation.  He extended his hitting streak to 16 on Tuesday, but it was the first time in ten games he failed to record an extra base hit.  That nine game extra base hit streak is the longest by a Giant since Willie Mays in 1963.  He is currently riding an eighteen game hitting streak.

Pablo Sandoval

#48 / Third Base / San Francisco Giants





Aug 11, 1986

Aubrey Huff, former MVP candidate, is still killing the offense though, more than making up for Sandoval's resurgence.  Grant Brisbee urges Giants fans to just accept Huff will struggle, while their best offensive prospect plays Huff's position in AAA.
After kicking the tires on several obscure catchers, it appears the Giants are actually interested in trading for a worthwhile catcher - Ramon Hernandez.  Of course, the Cincinnati Reds are contending now, and they probably won't be motivated to deal their hot-hitting catcher.   Unless Brian Sabean offers Zack Wheeler or something....(please.)
In comparable news, the Mets aren't likely to trade Jose Reyes, who will be on the disabled list until around the trading deadline anyway.  Of course, as much sense as it makes to add Reyes to the roster, there have be no signs such a trade would even be discussed.
Barry Zito improved to 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA since returning from the disabled list.  The Giants have epic pitching performances coming out of their ears more than the Rockies had late inning rallies last season.

Transactions:   Activated 1B/OF Brandon Belt from the 15-day DL and assigned him to AAA Fresno.

Injuries:  Mike Fontenot was eligible to return from the disabled list yesterday, but he will remain on a rehab assignment for a couple days, perhaps until the All-Star Break.  Cody Ross is nursing a mild groin strain.  Jonathan Sanchez threw a bullpen session Wednesday.  Freddy Sanchez began taking swings with a fungo bat last Saturday.

San Francisco Giants Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Pat Burrell foot 07/07/2011
Cody Ross hamstring 07/07/2011


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

60 Day DL / Out for the season

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