Potential Opening Day Lineup
Potential Opening Rotation
The San Diego Padres are trying to build a team to compete, and they took their first steps this year. The Padres made huge strides when they signed starting pitcher Josh Johnson to a multi-year deal. They also went out and signed relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit. The Padres also return favorites Chase Headley and Jedd Gyorko. They shouldn't be in much contention this year, but look out for the Padres in years to come.
For the first time in 17 years the Rockies will start their season without former captain and first baseman Todd Helton, but the Rockies have reloaded, and with the help of some newcomers the Rockies will look to attract some attention in the NL West. The Rockies went out and signed veteran first baseman Justin Morneau. Morneau will take over the everyday first base duties after the retirement of Helton. The Rockies also went out and acquired outfielders Michael Cuddyer and Drew Stubbs who will man the corner outfield spots. The Rockies also acquired starting pitcher Brett Anderson who is looking to get back to his ways and stay healthy this year after an injury plagued season last year in Oakland. If Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez can stay healthy then don't be surprised if the Rockies make a run in the NL West.
The San Francisco Giants are coming back into the 2014 season looking to get back to the World Series. The Giants went out and made some pretty big acquisitions this off-season. They acquired starting pitcher Tim Hudson and OF Michael Morse via Free Agency. The Giants filled their only two huge needs with those two signings. If the Giants can stay healthy, don't be surprised if they give both the Dodgers and D-Backs a run for the money. If they can get another MVP year out of Buster Posey and if Madison Bumgarner continues his Cy Young caliber career, those dreams seem a lot more reality than fiction.
The Diamondbacks were one of those teams that needed just a few extra pieces to be able to compete in the NL West last year. This year I think they may have found the pieces they needed. The D-Backs started the off-season by adding Mark Trumbo. Trumbo has been somewhat of a utility player for the Angels the last couple years swapping from 1B, to DH, and the outfield positions. Right now Trumbo should help back up Paul Goldschmidt in the lineup, and then should help himself in the home run friendly park of Chase Field. Then right before spring training the D-Backs went out and signed SP Bronson Arroyo to a multi-year contract. Arroyo is coming from the Reds where he played great in a hitter friendly park of Great American Ball Park. Arroyo should help this young and developing pitching rotation of the D-Backs. The D-Backs can also look forward to their No. 1 Prospect Archie Bradley making his debut at some point in the 2014 season. The D-Backs are a good team, but are they a great team? That remains to be seen.
The Dodgers started off last year being 10 games behind the D-Backs for first place in the NL West. Then they called up Cuban phenom Yasiel Puig. Puig exploded on to the scene hitting, stealing, and catching everything he could. Puig's arrival sparked something in the Dodgers organization. The Dodgers then went on a run and eventually won the NL West and made it to the NLCS where they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals. Now the Dodgers are looking to add on to what they started last year. The Dodgers bring back 3/4 of the team they had last year and signed the other 1/4 of the team they needed. They started off the off-season by signing Cuban defector Alexander Guerrero, and then they went out and got pitchers Paul Maholm and Dan Haren. Maholm should get the nod as the fifth starter in the rotation, and we could see Haren make several spot starts throughout the season. The outfield is LOADED with talent as many folks already know. With Andre Either, Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp that's right four top notch outfielders for only just three positions. With there only being three spots to fill, Either should be the unlucky man out. The Dodgers also have two young prospects in Scott Van Slyke, who can play first and the outfield, and Joc Pederson, who is big league ready, but as you can tell the dodgers are all ready a little full on the outfield spot. At second base the Dodgers have two young talented players in Alexander Guerrero, who looks to make a spot in his first big league camp, but he'll be competing with Dee Gordon, who has switched from SS to 2B, and is looking to find him a every day position. Guerrero could start the season off in the minors to help him get used life in America and in the big leagues, with Gordon getting that final spot for now. The Dodgers should have a bright year ahead of them if everything falls into place. The key is going to be if the team can stay healthy.