31 March 2008

NL West Opening Day Contender Blender

In the following I take all the latest injury news and position battle resolutions of the Padres, Diamonbacks and Rockies and create a delicious, not-really nutritious summary smoothie. It's empty calories, I fear.


Mark Prior will not be ready to start the season in the rotation, in fact he was recently moved to the 60-day DL. Between Jason Schmidt and Prior, I wonder who will pitch first this season? I'm guessing Prior.

So Wolf and Germano are the back end of the Padre rotation. Randy Wolf was knocked around in his last exhibition start against the Angels, which might be an indication he's not quite ready yet. The Dodgers figure to get Germano to open their three game set in San Diego this weekend, followed by Peavy and Young.

To no one's surprise Jim Edmonds has already been hurt, and he will miss at least the first five games of the regular season. The young prospects Headly and Antonelli the Padres were sort of considering for the outfield weren't ready yet, so for now the outfield will be Giles, McAnulty and Hairston. As expected the Padre outfield is not an inspiring group.

Good reliever from last year Kevin Cameron was sent down to AAA to start the season, which really surprised me. It was an options-roster crunch, apparently.


Jayson Nix won the second base job. It was kind of a farcical competition --- a six way battle for second base in which each contestant got about 50 spring training plate appearances. I think the fix was in for Nix to win among the six all along, unless he really fell on his face. To be fair he did have the best hitting stats among the six, for what that is worth, and he did seem to be the best choice all along anyway. I still don't think the Rockies will get much out of Nix.

Mark Redman and Franklin Morales won the two back-end jobs in the Rockie rotation. Morales might do well, but on balance this looks like a weakness for the Rockies. Then again, the Dodgers are one injury away from having Loaiza and Park be the back end of their rotation, which might be even worse. At least the Dodgers also have Kuo and Kershaw in the mix as well.


A few hours after my preview of the Snakes pitchers the news broke that Doug Davis has thyroid cancer. Now I feel really bad about saying he might not do well this year! The plan is for him to make his first two starts of the regular season, the second of these against the Dodgers, and then he'll have the surgery. He's expected to be out 4 to 6 weeks after the surgery. I don't know how the timing of the surgery was decided, but purely from a baseball perspective it sort of works out for the Snakes, because Randy Johnson should be ready to slot back into the rotation by the time Davis has his surgery. It looks like Edgar Gonzalez will be the fifth starter for at least two months.

Other than Davis being diagnosed with cancer, nothing really major happened at the end of spring training in the NL West. The Dodgers really made the most news in the last week, with Ethier beating out Pierre, and Kent coming back a little early.

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