Continuing our tour of the majors to find out what each team needs more than anything else, we turn now to the NL West… 

Dodgers – a power hitter

The Dodgers are second to last in the National League in home runs, ahead of only the hapless Cardinals, and their .370 team slugging percentage puts them in company with such similarly punchless teams as the Nationals and the Pirates.  Jeff Kent leads the team with 7 homers and is on pace for 25 on the season. No other Dodger projects to hit even 20.

Padres – a third baseman

Kevin KouzmanoffThe neverending quest continues.  After last season, in which they tried out the likes of washed-up players such as Vinny Castilla, Mark Bellhorn, Todd Walker, and Russ Branyan at third base, the Padres thought they had finally solved their third base conundrum (at great expense) by trading their everyday second baseman Josh Barfield to the Indians for hot prospect Kevin Kouzmanoff.  Instead Kouzmanoff has batted .202 in 114 at bats.   That actually represents an improvement, as Kouzmanoff has gone 12-23 over the past week – two weeks ago, he was batting .108.  The Dodgers have actually gotten worse production out of Wilson Betemit, but at least they have top prospect Andy LaRoche if he can’t turn it around.  Kouzmanoff might continue his hot hitting and eventually right the ship, but if he can’t, the Padres have nobody to fall back on, and when I say nobody I mean nobody at all.

Diamondbacks – a catcher

Before the season started, Baseball Prospectus praised the hitting abilities of Miguel Montero and the defensive skills of Chris Synder, and wrote that together they “will form a productive, low-cost catching tandem for a few years.” Instead, the D-Backs got an as-yet-unnamed comedy act of some sort – I’m still debating between “The Two Stooges” and “Worse and Worser.” Arizona catchers are last in the entire National League with a .193 batting average and a .541 OPS, and it’s not really even close.

Rockies – a catcher

Although they have not been quite as hopeless at the plate as the D-Backs’ catchers, Rockies catchers Yorvit Torrealba and Chris Iannetta have been pretty lackluster as well, posting a .220 batting average and only 1 home run between them. Although it’s true that catcher is a defensive skill position, numbers like that are simply unacceptable in this day and age, and when you play half your games in Coors Field, downright unforgivable, as in Dan Dowd should track them down across the icy arctic wastes and slay them in cold blood if they don’t start hitting soon.

Giants – anyone under 30

Check out the ages of the Giants current lineup:

omarvizquel01.jpg

Dave Roberts – 35

Randy Winn – 33

Rich Aurelia – 35

Barry Bonds – 42

Ray Durham – 35

Ryan Klesko – 36

Pedro Feliz – 32

Benji Molina – 32

Omar Vizquel – 40

Average age – 35.6

The 2006 version of the Giants set the all time record for the oldest team in baseball history, and the 2007 team has a good shot to surpass them, with Klesko and Aurelia replacing the younger Lance Niekro and Shea Hillenbrand, and Benji Molina replacing the younger Eliezer Alfonzo.  It promises to be a constant struggle to keep all of these geriatrics in the lineup at the same time, but even worse, the Giants have no young hitting prospects of any note ready to fill in.  The Giants obviously think they can contend this year, and with their pitching staff, they have a shot, but if they are smart they would trade some of those “experienced veterans” for some up-and-coming young talent while the old guys still have any value or the ability to perambulate without a walker.

No Responses to “What They Need – NL West”

  1. Nick Kapur says:

    I’ve always been against interleague play, from the start.

    Having two leagues that *never* played against each other except in the All-Star game and the World Series was one of the quirky things that made baseball different from other sports.

    People wonder why nobody cares about the All-Star game anymore, but the answer is clearly, interleague play. I even think it takes away (just a bit) from the mistique of the World Series.

    I mean, it used to be that two teams who had possibly never even played each other ever were facing off for the championship. Now, they might have just played each other back in June.

  2. Sarah Green says:

    Interleague Play is clearly an abomination in the eyes of the baseball gods.

    Also, without whipping all those limp NL teams, the Red Sox would have finished under .500 last year.

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