Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein made two huge off-season moves. Both of them paid off on Tuesday. The first was trading Andrew “Cash Money” Cashner and his 103 MPH gas to the Padres for Anthony Rizzo. Jed Hoyer drafted Rizzo and has now traded for him twice. Epstein has traded for him once, traded him away once, and was also responsible for drafting him. The other large move for the dynamic brain trust in Chicago was dumping Carlos Zambrano for Chris Volstad.
Rizzo was 1/1 with a HR and 2 RBI on Tuesday. Volstad threw 3 scoreless innings, allowing just 2 hits. It’s addition by subtraction in Chi-Town and the plan will work.
Manny Ramirez has his first hit of the Spring. Home run. He and Cespedes are the Bash Boys 2. The OG Bash Boys were Jose “Can’t Play in Mexico” Canseco and Mark “Ryan Braun and I are Both Innocent” McGwire.
Break up the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s. Both are a best in the Cactus League 9-3. This is not supposed to be how the AL West was won.
Yu Darvish is human after all. He walked 4 and gave up 3 hits. $111M just doesn’t go as far as it Yu-sed too.
Drew Pomeranz is ready for the regular season. Another 2 innings, 2 more K’s, zero runs. The Rockies Rookie is proving he belongs. I had no doubt. Rockies fans got on me when I said he was the best pitcher Colorado had. Perhaps now they’ll listen. Or not. Either way.
“You’ve had this extra pair of gloves the whole time?”
“Yeah, we’re in the Rockies.”
It’s the NL West where anything can, and usually does happen. For example: everyone thought Arizona would finish at the bottom of the division last season. The previous year people picked San Diego to finish last and they nearly won the division. That year, many had the Giants near the bottom of the NL West and they won the World Series. It just goes to show you how wide open the NL West is.
I could make a strong case for any team to win the NL West, except the Rockies. Their pitching, with a few miracles could be good, but everything would need to go their way. Jhoulys Chacin is a stud and should lead the staff. Drew Pomeranz will be a legit ace in the majors, but he’s still very young. After that, it’s a grab bag.
Their next best pitcher, Jorge De La Rosa, is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Following him is Juan Nicasio, who broke his neck last season after being hit in the head from a line drive. Alex White was supposed to be the real deal, but his ERA of 7.01 last season raises questions. Recently acquired Jamie Moyer will be turning 50.
In the line-up, yes there is Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki. Jason Giambi is 110 years old. Todd Helton is 108 years old. Casey Blake is the same age as Helton. The next youngest person in their infield is Marco Scutaro, which at 36 is a baby on this roster.
I do like their top prospect, third baseman Nolan Arenado, who was the MVP of the Arizona Fall League this off-season. He is rated as the 22nd overall prospect in MLB and should make the big league club. Let’s face it, he has to be better than a 108 year old Casey Blake, right?
Originally, I picked Colorado to finish 4th in the NL West, but after seeing the team Josh Byrnes is building in San Diego, I am putting the Rockies dead last. Sorry, Rockies fans.
There is something about Colorado where they always seem to hang around, but this year I just don’t see it. Get out your favorite tumbler, some booze and drink it on the Rox. It’s gonna be a long season.
Fearless prediction: 71-91. Last in NL West.
Up next in our Spring Training Preview is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The San Diego Padres seem to be headed in the right direction. Of course, when you’re at the bottom of the NL West, there is really only one direction to go. Josh Byrnes takes over as GM and will improve the team. How much better will they be? Tough to say, but I don’t see them losing 90+ games again.
Carlos Quentin is reunited with the GM who drafted him in Arizona, a move I love. I cannot wait to watch CQ hit some home runs off the Western Metal Supply Co. building in left field. The other outfielders are stars in the making with Cameron Maybin patrolling center and Will Venable in right. In Maybin’s first full big league season last year he stole 40 bases while hitting 10 home runs. Venable, too has shown speed and power.
The Padres top prospect from a season ago, Anthony Rizzo was traded to the Chicago Cubs. The front office in Chicago clearly thinks highly of Rizzo as GM Jed Hoyer has now traded for him twice, once to the Padres and now the Cubs. Cubs President Theo Epstein drafed Rizzo when he was with the Boston Red Sox, a front office that also included Hoyer.
Their newest top prospect also plays first base and came to San Diego in exchange for Mat Latos. Yonder Alonso hit .330 last year in limited playing time with the Reds and has legit deep power. Whether that transfers to Petco Park remains to be seen. Other newbies include pitchers Edinson Volquez, Huston Street and Andrew “Cash Money” Cashner, whom the Friars got in the Rizzo deal. Cashner can throw the ball 100 MPH. That’s fast. Hopefully he can control it.
Mix in Chase Headley, Mark Kotsay, Jason Bartlett, Orlando Hudson and catcher Nick Hundley and the Padres might surprise some people. Their pitching rotation is stacked, led by one of the best pitchers in the NL West that nobody has ever heard of, Tim Stauffer. Look for much of the same, low scoring, pitching duels, but with a bit more talent this year, the Friars will win some of those games.
Fearless prediction: 79-83, 4th in NL West.
Up next on Tuesday in our Cactus League Spring Training Preview, Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s and Moneyball.