- The offseason may have been slow, but Eric Hosmer, Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen were among the host of big names to join the NL West.
The offseason is over, spring training is in full swing, and despite a few notable names still available on the market, most if not all teams have called it quits in terms of signings and trades. So it’s time to look back on just what every squad did this winter and hand out grades for the moves made—or, in some cases, for those they failed to make. Next up: the National League West.
Players with an asterisk next to their name were re-signed as free agents.
Los Angeles Dodgers
2017 Record: 104–58, first place in NL West; won National League pennant
Key Additions: LHP Scott Alexander, OF Matt Kemp, RHP Tom Koehler, 2B Chase Utley*
Key Departures: RHP Yu Darvish, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, LHP Scott Kazmir, RHP Brandon McCarthy
The Dodgers did relatively little altering to a roster that won over 100 games last season. Under the guise of staying beneath the $197 million luxury tax, LA offloaded nearly $50 million worth of contracts to the Braves for Matt Kemp, who the Dodgers have unsuccessfully tried to flip elsewhere. They made a couple shrewd moves to augment their bullpen by acquiring groundball specialist Scott Alexander and signing righty Tom Koehler (who will begin the season on the DL). The clearest concession made by the team was letting Darvish go in free agency, but the Dodgers will still run out a quality rotation.
Even though they decided against pairing another ace with Clayton Kershaw and didn’t want to shell out a quarter-billion dollars for Giancarlo Stanton, the Dodgers will be just fine in 2018. Let’s see if LA will open its wallet for next year’s stacked free agent class.
2017 Record: 93–69, second place in NL West; lost in NLDS
Key Additions: C Alex Avila, RHP Brad Boxberger, OF Jarrod Dyson, RHP Yoshihisa Hirano, OF Steven Souza Jr.
Key Departures: INF Brandon Drury, OF J.D. Martinez, RHP Fernando Rodney
The biggest, seemingly insurmountable challenge for the Diamondbacks this year will be trying to fill the offensive void left by J.D. Martinez’s departure. In 62 games he blasted 29 home runs and collected 65 RBIs. Arizona did well to bring in Steven Souza Jr., a glove-first outfielder who still managed to knock 30 big flies for the Rays last season, but it’d be unreasonable to expect him to replicate Martinez’s surge. He should still complement Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb pretty well in the DBacks’ lineup.
Even with the additions of Brad Boxberger and Japanese righty Yoshihisa Hirano, Arizona’s bullpen still presents a few question marks. Boxberger can be an effective arm but has struggled to stay healthy the last two years. Hirano will need to see how his repertoire plays against major league hitters. Archie Bradley had a terrific season out of the ‘pen in 2017, but is he the Diamondbacks’ best answer at closer instead of a proven arm, such as still-available closer Greg Holland?
2017 Record: 87–75, third place in NL West; lost in NL Wild-Card Game
Key Additions: RHP Wade Davis, C Chris Iannetta, OF Carlos Gonzalez*, LHP Jake McGee*, RHP Bryan Shaw,
Key Departures: RHP Tyler Chatwood, C Jonathan Lucroy, RHP Pat Neshek, 1B Mark Reynolds
After a surprising run to the wild-card game last year, the Rockies charted as clear a course as any team in baseball this offseason. They moved on from their closer, Holland, and devoted more than $100 million to reel in his replacement, Wade Davis, and setup men Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw. The question is how many leads that trio will have to protect, given Colorado’s starting staff is far from a sure thing.
The Rockies get definite bonus points for spending more than most teams did the offseason, and also for reuniting with Carlos Gonzalez after he experienced the same radio silence this offseason too many other players did.
San Francisco Giants
2017 Record: 64-98, last place in NL West
Key Additions: C Nick Hundley*, OF Austin Jackson, 3B Evan Longoria, OF Andrew McCutchen, LHP Tony Watson
Key Departures: INF Christian Arroyo, LHP Matt Moore, OF Denard Span
At the end of a season more disastrous than anyone could have anticipated, the Giants vowed not to tear down the current operation. They would be buyers, not sellers, and general manager Bobby Evans was tasked with reconfiguring the roster while trying to stay beneath the luxury tax threshold. That makes it all the more impressive he managed to acquire two franchise faces in Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen while shedding the heavy contracts of Denard Span and Matt Moore.
Through all the financial gymnastics, the Giants additionally did well in fortifying their relief corps and outfield with lefty Tony Watson and Austin Jackson. San Francisco did about as much as it could—trading for Giancarlo Stanton notwithstanding—to inspire playoff hopes in a team that stood on the doorstep of 100 losses. That’s tough to do.
San Diego Padres
2017 Record: 71–91, fourth place in NL West
Key Additions: RHP Colton Brewer, SS Freddy Galvis, 3B Chase Headley, 1B Eric Hosmer, RHP Jordan Lyles, RHP Bryan Mitchell, RHP Tyson Ross
Key Departures: 3B Ryan Schimpf, INF Yangervis Solarte
The Padres are trending in the right direction as a whole, but still have a ways to go on the mound before their rebuild can near its completion. They were active on the trade market and netted a solid arm from the Yankees in Bryan Mitchell (acquired along with Chase Headley for Jabari Blash). Closer Brad Hand is a gem in San Diego’s bullpen, although it’s still somewhat curious the Padres haven’t flipped him to a contender.
Perhaps the Padres believe they’re closer to contending than anyone else thinks, as the signing of Eric Hosmer might indicate. Hosmer’s addition shades of the Nationals’ deal with Jayson Werth in 2011. Washington added a player they didn’t need on a losing team, but that losing team wasn’t one for very long.