5 Offseason Moves That Could Totally Shake Up the NL West
The once sub par and unexciting NL West has regained their swagger with the San Francisco Giants winning two World Series championships in three years.
Newly crowned NL MVP, Buster Posey, and perennial Cy Young nominee, Matt Cain, lead an exuberant and extremely talented SF Giants team into the 2013 season. Also, with Aubrey Huff and Aaron Rowand’s incredibly inflated contracts finally off the payroll, the Giants have some extra spending money to play around with.
Though they have the glory and ultimate trump-card, the other NL West teams aren’t trying to get left in the dust. As we saw last July, the Dodgers made a huge gamble at the trade deadline and proved their pockets are seemingly endless. Though landing Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino didn’t help them achieve the ultimate goal, don’t think they’ll rest on their laurels and be out of contention this year.
The Padres are also a team I feel will surprise a lot of people this year and are in the hunt for big-name players to go with their slew of highly-touted prospects. Also, with a new ownership group in place, they may have deeper pockets and be more willing to make big moves than past Padre teams.
Justin Upton tops the list of potential big-name players on the trading block. Depending what the Diamondbacks are looking for in return, they could be a dark horse team this upcoming season.
Sorry Rockies fans, I can’t think of any way to spin plausible offseason moves that help you regain your form.
1. Giants Lose Pagan, but Sign Victorino
Fresh off their latest World Series championship, the SF Giants have some key players entering free agency this offseason.
Their front office already managed to sign ace relief pitcher, Jeremy Affeldt, to a three-year $18 million extension. However, Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro are new free agents coming off a great season, and an even better postseason.
As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, “The San Francisco Giants have been talking with Angel Pagan, but aren't sure they want to give him as many years as he wants in his next deal.” However, he also states the team is more optimistic about re-signing Scutaro to another deal.
Though completely my own speculation, I think Shane Victorino makes sense for the Giants, especially if Pagan goes elsewhere.
2. Dexter Fowler Leaves the Rockies
In terms of “shaking up” the NL West, this isn’t a mind blower. The 2012 last-place Rockies are looking to rebuild and may trade some key players for pitching and prospects.
As MLB Trade Rumors reports, the Rockies have placed both Dexter Fowler and Michael Cuddyer on the trading block. However, also according to MLBTR, an opposing executive called the Rockies’ asking price for Fowler “absurd.”
Both Fowler and Cuddyer join the stud outfielders who could be on the move this offseason.
3. Greinke Signs with the Dodgers
With Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez, the Dodgers have the hitting needed to remain a serious contender. Also, earlier this month, the Dodgers won the bidding rights for Korean hurler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, to add to their improving rotation.
As good as Clayton Kershaw is, he can’t pitch everyday. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman speculates the Dodgers will be in the market for another top-tier starting pitcher. These names include Anibal Sanchez and Kyle Lohse, but Zach Greinke still tops the list.
4. Diamondbacks Trade Upton and Kubel, Get a Lot in Return
Justin Upton has been the topic of many trade talks since the 2012 trading period. Among the conversations, the Texas Rangers seem to be the most interested in Upton and are willing to part with Elvis Andrus in compensation.
However, I think a potential trade with the Royals may make the biggest splash in the NL West. According to MLBTR, the Royals are fielding offers for a package that includes their top prospect and 2012 Minor League Player of the Year, Wil Myers. Along with Myers, the Royals will supposedly pair a top position player such as Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakis, Alex Gordon or Billy Butler.
Dealing both Upton and Jason Kubel for Myers and any of the aforementioned players will set the Diamondbacks up for the future.
5. Padres Sign Haren and Dice-K to Anchor Rotation
The Padres could be one of the more entertaining teams this offseason. It’s still unclear how deep the new Padres’ owners pockets are; however, they have openly discussed Dan Haren as one of their offseason targets. MLBTR has also reported that the Padres have their eyes set on Haren and may be one of the few teams willing to give him a multi-year contract.
Daisuke Matsuzaka has reportedly (via U-T San Diego) told the Japanese press he would like to pitch for the Padres after his experience pitching in Petco Park during the World Baseball Classic.
Though coming off a disappointing year and Tommy John surgery, Dice-K used to be one of the top foreign prospects. A one-year contract pitching for the Padres in their pitcher-friendly park is a great plan to jump-start a career.