We have established the Padres are the front runners for the worst team in the NL West, but I could be wrong. I have been before. Ask my girlfriend.
What makes a topic for interesting conversation and debate is where the other teams in the division fall into place. With the Dodgers ability to potentially re-sign Manny and their impressive post-season play last year, I cannot fathom power ranking them 4th. Many would naturally expect the San Francisco Giants to assume this poll position, however I am optimistic for this ball club to make improvements from 2008. I believe the team that deserves to occupy the 4th place power rank in the West is a team that will not be celebrating Hollidays this year”¦wait, I mean Holliday.
Lets take a team that finished at .500 from last year and see what happened to them in the off season. They lost blue-chip sensation, Matt Holliday in a trade to give them financial wiggle room as well as speedster Willy Tavaras and closer Brian Fuentes to free agency. Bummer. What did the Rockies recover from these losses? Some money, and Huston Street the young closer from Oakland. I like Street’s potential, however, the Rockies already have a usable closer in Manny Corpas, so I can’t help but feel that they put their eggs in the wrong basket when trading away Holliday. Why didn’t they go for a marquis pitcher to aide their stomach-churning rotation? Speaking of which”¦
The Rockies arms have to be amongst the bottom seven in the MLB. I suppose they consider their ace to be Aaron Cook, who had a good first half of last year, but proceeded to play like a skunk for the rest of the season. The rotation is followed by Jeff Francis and Franklin Morales who both battle injuries of sorts and neither may play this season. Ubaldo Jimenez could help the team out if he strays from his 100+ walks from last year, and newcomer Jason Marquis may become something good, but has a lot to prove in his first chance as a starting pitcher. For a team that plays 80-some-odd games in a stadium renowned for its home-run hitting ease, this rotation has to be scaring the pants off everyone in Colorado.
Aside from Garret Atkins being a totally overrated bust, the Rockies don’t look too shabby in the field. There is power behind (SS) Troy Tulowitzki and (RF) Brad Hawpe and breakout potential behind (C) Chris Iannetta. The rest of the field doesn’t necessarily dazzle or disappoint. If and when Todd Helton realizes that he is going to be 36-years old this season, he may start to dip in offensive production.
Plain and simply, you can get away with crappy pitching if you have a line-up like the Yankees but you can’t if you’re the Rockies. They have lost speed and power and are getting older at the corners. They will put up a fight within the middle of the pack of the NL West, but when the season is over you will see them in the 75 wins range”¦and occupying 4th place in their division.