want to come up with something funny to say about the West. Maybe
something insightful and thrilling that will shock you… not a
chance you’ve heard it.
else struggles and looks horrible, or seems to be solidly rebuilding.
What I expect in 2011: 90-72, playoffs
they did in 2010: 92-70
personnel changes: Hmm… Miguel Tejada. (Pause… pause…
just a minute… hold on… pause… one more second.) Yeah… sure… ok…
as opposed to Edgar Rent-a-wreck? Fine.
too amazing here. Defending champions… not exactly loaded with
spending money… brought in lots of guys on minor league deals,
and yet nothing worth examining too closely.
expectations: Honestly… I think the Giants could be headed
back to the World Series.
addition to Lincecum and Cain they bring three lefties to the
mound. Yeah… I know… one of those lefties is named Barry Zito.
It’s still the best rotation in the West, and certainly the second
best rotation in the National League as the season begins.
don’t laugh… but the play of Buster Posey suggests this lineup
won’t be easy to get around. Huff is true professional that should
do fine once again for San Francisco, and I think the Panda will
be ok as well. The trick is, the top of the order is decent and
will score some runs against average pitching.
that mix of a deep rotation and better than average offense means
this… in a league that does feature some good pitchers, Lincecum
and Cain are still capable of winning on any night. But now it
also means that when the stars align and the three-four-five guys
are going for both teams, the Giants are still likely to have
the better pitcher on the mound… and a lineup capable of scoring
when the opposition isn’t at its best.
when you’re supposed to win and let the rest take care of itself.
it could all go wrong (or, I suppose, right): Well… first
off if Colorado gets their act together, that roster is more talented.
(I have not been drinking.)
not kid ourselves… this is a team that San Diego brought to the
final weekend of the season in the playoff race.
no one else cleared 83 wins.
means alot of divisional wins are there for the Giants. (In 2010,
the Giants played their best against the NL Central. Won 2 out
of every 3 there. Only 4-games over .500 against their division.
And yet… for reasons I just don’t have the energy to look at…
only Minnesota and Cincinnati, and sort of Philadelphia, did really
well in their own divisions. So…)
the Giants don’t take advantage of a what I expect to be a less
impressive Padres team, a still weak Diamondbacks team, and figure
out how to get those wins that a more balanced NL Central may
not again give up so easily, they could run into some troubles.
let’s be realistic… that pitching has to overcome what appears
to be a dreadful defense. (Welcome to San Francisco… the only
club in baseball willing to put Tejada back at short.)
What I expect in 2011: 87-75
they did in 2010: 83-79
personnel changes: Biggest news was extensions… Troy
Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. No major additions… no big losses.
few people are going to want to note Ty Wigginton. Got it. He’s
a scrappy player, and I like him just fine. But let’s be realistic…
ok? The club also had an off-season that involved Matt Lindstrom
and John Maine. There are other areas to be interested about.)
expectations: Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki give
this club a nice start on the field. Add in Ubaldo Jimenez at
the front of the pitching staff and you have a solid foundation
for this team.
like them to improve and be in contention when August becomes
a memory and the postseason race really takes off.
I just cannot bet against the starting rotation in San Francisco.
And, despite the players Colorado has… there isn’t a ton of depth.
If everyone doesn’t produce, from the beginning of the season
to the end, they’ll arrive in September too far behind to be a
it could all go wrong (or, I suppose, right): Well… I’m
not sure they can add much if they need to. I may be wrong… but
I don’t see alot of payroll flexibility or prospects they would
be willing to trade. In July if they are lockstep for a division
title or wild card spot, the roster that completed the first four
months will be virtually identical to the one they plan to use
in the final two of the competition.
club was awful on the road last year… both in record and performance.
More than 60% of their runs were scored at home last year. Easily…
comfortably… more than 60% of their runs.
Rockies are a funny club. Not too far out of the World Series
appearance… good enough to get you to appreciate their talent…
and possessing a roster that doesn’t need home field and 14 runs
to win a game. But they’re still tinkering. Maybe they’ve found
the right mix for 2011. I still think we’re a year or two away
What I expect in 2011: 78-84
they did in 2010: 80-82
personnel changes: The Dodgers used the off-season to
raise tons of questions. See… I can’t tell you that Russell Martin
or George Sherrill leaving makes much of a difference.
can tell you that tons of one-year contracts and the departures
and the potential of cash problems means 2011 isn’t looking much
better than 2010 so far.
lack of changes… or, more specifically, the changes that have
been made, how they’ve been made, and the lack of a big change…
flies directly against the stream of public relations that has
been saying they have the money to make a big move if the club
Well… mainly because they will not be contending. So it’s all
just talk. But more to the point, everything seems to be set up
to drop the payroll as low as it can be dropped.
expectations: I’ve got nothing. Zero expectations.
it could all go wrong (or, I suppose, right): Can it
all be pitching? I mean… Clayton Kershaw and some other guys?
that’s the problem here.
not saying Manny Ramirez was a good signing (he wasn’t… though
the playoff result might defend the trade). What I am saying is
that the foundation that was supposed to hold the Dodgers together
seems about as solid as the marriage that owns the club. And if
we use Ramirez as an example, and the trade for him as an example,
we find a club that is consistently turning itself over… changing
their approach… signing a player, calling him a big part of the
future success, only to a few months later claim (and attempt
to defend) he’s a good role player and actually that’s what they
wanted when shelling out the money… and starting again without
using the rebuilding words in the description of what is going
am I dreaming? Did Jason Schmidt never happen? Did everyone else
forget Juan Pierre and Casey Blake and Rafael Furcal and Russell
Martin… and… and… and, yeah, I don’t think I owe the Dodgers an
apology here. The divorce efforts are better organized and more
consistent than this baseball team.
Kemp and Andre Either are nice… but turmoil and hidden messages?
While proofreading this column I saw questions beginning to surface
about Either. Seems whether or not he will be there long term
is in doubt. Too long a story… and not really so amazing that
it is worthy of reliving here… but the idea remains that the Dodgers
are a team in disarray. I don’t know what you are going to get…
but whatever is on the field can’t expect much support from management.
What I expect in 2011: 75-87
they did in 2010: 65-97
personnel changes: Let’s see… Adam LaRoche. Anyone up
for more on that change? Because he’s gone. Not playing for Arizona
Mora? Xavier Nady? They’ve arrived in town.
Nothing of interest there?
you’re right. Minor tinkering, alot of action, and in the end
it’s mostly smoke and mirrors.
hey… Kris Benson retired. I guess his wife, Anna, won’t have to
pay off on that Cy Young promise. (You can go ahead and look that
one up on your own. This is a family web site. (Kind of.))
expectations: Way… way… way too high for victories. I
should have them around 70. Tops. I should have them around 65.
That would be better. Maybe I’m just a believer that Kirk Gibson
will kick some butts, hold players responsible, and win a few
they don’t really deserve.
are facts though. They are in rebuild mode right now, and almost
definitely will be listening to offers on any player during the
it could all go wrong (or, I suppose, right): Once a
pitching haven… or at least bursting with Webb and Haren possibilities…
the Diamondbacks now can’t get out of their own way.
Kennedy is probably the best pitcher in their rotation.
will repeat that.)
Kennedy is probably the best pitcher in their rotation.
I have them too high.)
What I expect in 2011: 72-90
they did in 2010: 90-72
personnel changes: Lost Adrian Gonzalez. The club is
playing in a division that turns itself over quite often, and
they may be on the road to a solid future. But in the NL West,
after a very surprising 2010, all that matters is their best player
changed leagues and coasts.
expectations: Mat Latos is a name to become familiar
with. Very familiar. Because the play last year in San Diego cannot
be attributed to one player and this guys could be really, really
they are not a 90-win team… they are not a playoff team. But they
did win 90 games. And as the final weekend of the 2010 season
played out, they could have won the division or even the wild
are no runs to be scored in San Diego this year though. And that
is going to cause all kinds of problems.
it could all go wrong (or, I suppose, right): I do believe
that in two or three years, the Padres could surge as they did
in 2010 and win this division. I even more strongly believe that
in four or five years they could be a consistent threat to field
a winning team and make the playoffs every year.
was amazing. It wasn’t reality though.
ballpark hides all sorts of faults with the pitching staff, and
they could have a ton of problems playing on the road this season.
Gonzalez isn’t the only player that’s not returning for 2011,
and much of their talented youth won’t be at more than a AAA level
do believe they’ll clear 70 victories. I probably believe now
that they’ll finish fourth (and maybe even be able to pass the
Dodgers for third). I don’t think you can expect more than that.