The skewed perspective of a conservative Catholic employee-side employment lawyer living in the most exciting city in the Milky Way, Las Vegas, Nevada USA, who listens to a lot of really strange music and who, for some reason, lives and dies St. Louis Cardinal baseball


Baseball preview: NL Worst (West)

San Diego Padres (86-76)
San Francisco Giants (85-77)
Los Angeles Dodgers (81-81)
Arizona Diamondbacks (71-91)
Colorado Rockies (68-94)

2004 Final Standings:
Los Angeles (93-69)
San Francisco (91-71)
San Diego (87-75)
Colorado (68-94)
Arizona (51-111)

Who’s your Daddy? Somebody has to win this weak division, might as well be the Petco Padres.

Normally, after taking a great leap forward, I would predict a half-step backwards, known in the trade as a "consolidation year." See, e.g., Texas Rangers (2005). Giant leaps forward usually require a combination of luck, health and career years that are not readily duplicated in consecutive years. The Pads could end up a game or three worse in the win column and still win this pathetic division due to competition that is either rapidly declining or stuck in stinkersville. The window of opportunity won’t stay open long for these men, though. Except for SS Khalil Greene and a couple of pitchers (most importantly, Jake Peavy), this is a team of old, aging veterans. Woody Williams (38), Trevor Hoffman (37), Brian Giles (34) and especially the beat-up Phil Nevin (34) don’t have many sands left in their career hourglasses. They better win now because aging teams, when they fall apart, fall apart fast. See, e.g., Arizona Diamondbacks (2004).

Can the Giants win without a healthy Barry Bonds (who, by the way, isn’t on steroids, he didn’t know the "cream" or the "clear’ were ‘roids, and, being such a naïve innocent, of course he would just accept BALCO’s word that it all was legit)? Of course they can win without Barry! They got one of the great managers in the game in Felipe Alou. They can win, in the sense that they won’t go 0-162. But can they prosper? Not likely. Nephew Moises will likely camp out on the DL. Aging SS Omar Vizquel is a shadow of his former self. 3B Edgardo Alfonso is an old 31. J.T. Snow has never justified at-bats at 1B. And the pitching is awfully thin. Felipe will hold them together with toothpicks and spit; good enough for second.

The Dodgers are significantly worse than they were just 12 months ago. Paul DePodesta may be the darling of the Moneyball crowd, but he looks over his head as a major league GM. The team never recovered from his bizarre late-season give-away of all-star catcher Paul Lo Duca. The loss of Dave Roberts and Alex Cora makes this team significantly weaker up the middle and great up-the-middle defense had been a wholly un-Dodger-like plus on this team for most of Jim Tracey’s managerial tenure. Cesar Izturis is a great shortstop, but he can’t do everything defensively. Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew (coming off a career year) won’t offset all the subtractions, including the loss of Adrian Beltre (who would've declined off his career year stats anyway, but not by as much as the numbers to be put up by his replacement). Playing in a weak division, however, leaves the Dodgers only so far to fall.

The D-Backs lost 111 games in 2004. They then lost Randy Johnson in the offseason. Candidate to surpass the ‘62 Mets? No. Well, why not? First of all, Diamondbacks weren’t as bad their record would indicate. There is no way this team should have rung up triple digit losses, let alone 111 of them. Their roster should have put up up more W’s than the Royals or even their division mates the Rockies. New additions Troy Glaus and Shawn Green should propel them forward a bit. However, if Tony Clark gets significant playing time at first, that should be a massive red flag that another 100-plus loss season may be in the offing.

Bringing up the divisional rear should be the Rocks of Colorado. Todd Helton playing nursemaid to a bunch of AA rejects. Actually, the pitchers only look like AA rejects. Playing at elevation does that to the best of ‘em; so you can imagine what it’ll do to the rest of them. The Rocks hopefully will give a lot of playing time to one of my all-time favorite major leaguers, ex-Twin (and ex-Giant) Dustan Mohr, whose heads-up, aggressive baserunning made him the hero of the Twins 2003 playoff run. I’m a huge Dustan Mohr fan and, regardless the amount of PT he's given, that definitely isn’t even close to being enough to get me to watch this sad team.
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