There was a fair amount of movement in this division, particularly by the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres who made interesting trades. The rest of the division made smaller additions, not all of them seeming so wise.
Diamondbacks: I didn’t understand the idea of trading Jarrod Parker — who’s finally healthy, ready to contribute and not making any money — for Trevor Cahill, who was terrible the second half of last season. Jason Kubel is a nice addition and gives their lineup some depth. Re-signing Joe Saunders at least maintains a lefty presence in the rotation.
Giants: The Giants inexplicably made no major improvements to a lineup in desperate need of it. They added Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera to the outfield, which is, at best, a minor improvement. Pablo Sandoval had a nice bounce-back year and was rewarded with a three-year contract. Their best move was retaining Javier Lopez, who’s a lefty killer, on a two-year deal.
Dodgers: It was a chaotic season-into-offseason for the Dodgers with no resolution to their ownership situation or financial troubles. Amazingly, they were able to lock up their star CF, Matt Kemp, to an eight-year contract, and had also been bidding on Prince Fielder. Mark Ellis is a nice player, but he’s not going to add much spark to their offense. Juan Rivera can barely play the outfield and should have been let go. They don’t have a starting-caliber catcher on the roster, and a two-year deal for aging utility man Jerry Hairston Jr. doesn’t make any sense.
Rockies: I didn’t like the Michael Cuddyer signing considering the money they paid for him. Casey Blake is a solid veteran and a nice temporary stop-gap at third base. Trading for Marco Scutaro should stabilize second base for the Rockies. You can live with bringing in Ramon Hernandez to catch. Seth Smith became expendable after signing Cuddyer, and Guillermo Moscoso could be a nice surprise at the back of the rotation. The Ubaldo Jimenez trade was also a component of the offseason maneuvering, and we’ll have to wait and see how much of a contribution they get this year from Alex White and Drew Pomeranz.
Padres: The Padres had a busy offseason moving Anthony Rizzo and Mat Latos out and bringing in Andrew Cashner, Yonder Alonzo, Edinson Volquez and prospects Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger. The Latos trade, from the Padres standpoint, makes perfect sense considering the difficulty in finding hitters who can be productive in that park. This regime obviously didn’t like Rizzo, and they’re hoping Alonzo can be that guy. Huston Street was a nice addition considering the Rockies are picking up $6.5 million of his $7.5 million salary. On the ballpark offense theme, I like the aggressiveness in obtaining Carlos Quentin, especially since they didn’t give up much to get him.