Spring Training is almost upon us! The NL West figures to be an exciting division 2017 that includes the Diamondbacks, Rockies, Dodgers, Padres, and Giants. In recent years the Giants and Dodgers have been in a constant battle in recent years. The Dodgers have won the division 4 of the past 5 years while the Giants won have won 3 world series titles since 2010. After a long offseason, it’s time to hand out some offseason grades. Who put themselves in a position to improve in 2017?
Arizona Diamondbacks: Grade C+
Key Additions: Taijuan Walker, Ketel Marte, Fernando Rodney, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Jeff Mathis, Chris Iannetta
Key Departures: Jean Segura, Welington Castillo
One giant trade defined the entire Diamondbacks offseason. The D-Backs essentially swapped Jean Segura for Taijuan Walker in a trade that doesn’t really have a clear winner. Segura had a breakout year in 2016 hitting .319 but probably sold high on him. They have a chance to land a special pitching talent in Taijuan Walker but at this point probably projects better as a reliever if he doesn’t fix his arm slot. Ketel Marte also came along in the trade and could be a really nice player if he ever learns how to hit. The new regime of Mike Hazen has a lot more work to do to fix this franchise.
Colorado Rockies: Grade F
Key Additions: Dominic Brown, Ian Desmond, Mike Dunn, Alexi Amarista, Greg Holland, Mark Reynolds
Key Departures: Boone Logan, Nick Hundley
Every year it seems like one of these NL West franchises gets a false hope fallacy and tries to go for it. The Padres attempt failed miserably in 2015 and Diamondbacks 2016 season resulted in the same. This year the Rockies really went for and are bound to fail. They gave Ian Desmond $70 million to go and play first base, a position he never played before. Signing Desmond also means they forfeit the 11th overall pick in the draft. During the 2nd half of the season last year, he hit just .238 which falls in line with his career average. Why not just go and get Encarnacion if you’re going to spend that kind of money? Colorado also overpaid for a bunch of relievers which also has trouble written all over it. Often times singing a big deal to go play in home run friendly Coors field can rattle some confidence. I don’t project these offseason moves to go very well for the Rockies. The good news is the Rockies do have a nice set of position players on the roster.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Grade C
Key Additions: Logan Forsythe, Sergio Romo
Key Departures: Howie Kendrick, Chase Utley, Jose De Leon, Josh Reddick
The Dodgers offseason can be broken down very simply. They gave Justin Turner $64 million, Rich Hill $48 million, and Kenley Jansen $80 million just to keep their own players. Those re-signings add to what was already the league’s highest payroll. You could make the argument that LA is actually worse heading into this season. A lot of questions will have to be asked if Logan Forsythe doesn’t produce at 2nd base.
San Diego Padres: Grade F
Key Additions: Jhoulys Chacin, Tyrell Jenkins
Key Departures: Derek Norris, Tyson Ross
I’m not sure why the Padres refused to trade Tyson Ross prior to the season and then decided to non-tender him this offseason but that’s baseball for you. The biggest move the Padres made was the Wil Myers extension for 6 years at $83 million. Myers had a breakout season in 2016 but has virtually no production in his prior 3 years in the MLB. I’m not sure what they are doing but San Diego does have a couple of marquee prospects in the system.
San Francisco Giants: Grade B
Key Additions: Mark Melancon, Nick Hundley, Jimmy Rollins, Justin Ruggiano
Key Departures: Santiago Casilla, Angel Pagan, Gregor Blanco, Sergio Romo, Jake Peavy
The Giants may have beaten the Cubs last year in the postseason if they actually had a dependable bullpen. Mark Melancon gives them that even if they had to pay him a boatload. Melancon’s $62 million deal tapped out San Fran’s budget but is a very dependable closer 1.82 ERA in 2016. The Giants could still use an upgrade in the outfield in more bullpen depth.