Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Thoughts on the NL West

There were several moves made yesterday by three contending teams in the NL West - the division leading Los Angeles Dodgers as well as the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies who are tied for the NL Wild Card entering September.

The Giants signed pitcher Brad Penny who was released by the Boston Red Sox on August 26th at his request. Penny was demoted to the bullpen when Tim Wakefield returned to the starting rotation and Penny made it known he was not happy. However, Penny had been struggling losing his last four decisions with an ERA over 9.00. Overall, Penny was 7-8 with a 5.61 ERA with the Red Sox. Penny should still add some depth to an already strong starting rotation and will be eager to face the Dodgers, a team that let him go at the end of the 2008 season.

The Dodgers made two deals yesterday. First, they acquired slugger Jim Thome from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for minor league infielder Justin Fuller. The Dodgers then added a starting pitcher by obtaining Jon Garland from the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for a player to be named later.

Thome, who turned 39 on August 27th, has been a DH in recent years and with James Loney enconsed at first base look for Thome to be largely confined to a pinch hitting role. He might not get many at bats but in a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the 9th inning he could make those at bats count. As for Garland, he struggled with the D'Backs going 8-11 with a 4.29 ERA this season. However, suddenly finding himself in a playoff race and being backed by a more potent offense could give him the chance to have a winning record by season's end.

The Colorado Rockies also added a starting pitcher by obtaining Jose Contreras from the Chicago White Sox for minor league pitcher Brandon Hynick. Contreras had an awful year with the Chisox going 5-13 with a 5.42 ERA. However, Contreras might be an interesting fit in Denver. At 37, he could play something of a mentoring role to fellow Latino starting pitchers Ubaldo Jimenez and Jorge de la Rosa. Jimenez, in particular, has pitching mannerisms similar to Contreras.

Trading both Thome and Contreras would seem to indicate the White Sox have thrown in the towel for the 2009 season. The Chisox have lost eight of their last nine games and have fallen six games back of the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central Division which has now become a two team race between the Tigers and the Minnesota Twins.

But getting back to the NL West, it looks like the Dodgers will win the division barring a major collapse which leaves the Wildcard spot. Between the Giants and Rockies, I have to favor the Giants. Yes, I picked the Giants to win the World Series this year.

1 comment:

jreed724 said...

I can see why they should be upset, aren’t they new loosing sales or clients over this???