San Diego Padres – a left fielder
To say left field was a revolving door for the Friars last season would be generous. It was more like there was no door at all, and anyone could just walk through and play. After trying all manner of flotsam there last year, including castoffs like Jose Cruz, Jr., Paul McAnulty, Russ Branyan, Terrmel Sledge, Rob Mackowiak, the Padres have still not found a solution.
Although Scott Hairston did hit like a man on fire after coming over from the D-Backs in a late season trade (.981 OPS in 87 AB), and is the putative starter if the season were to start today, before coming to the Pads he had an awful .659 OPS in 176 at-bats with the Snakes, so it’s hard to have any confidence in him.
Another reason it would be useful for the Padres to add at least one more capable player to their outfield mix is that their starting centerfielder is the aging and injury prone Jim Edmonds, who is highly unlikely to make it through a whole season without several trips to the DL.
Arizona Diamondbacks – a fourth outfielder
After an offseason in which they did just about everything right, the team’s only discernable hole is in the outfield. The Snakes seem committed to going with youngster Justin Upton as their everyday rightfielder, despite his unsightly .221/.283/.364 line last season. But now that Arizona has traded away its two best outfield prospects in Carlos Quentin and Carlos Gonzalez, if Upton falters or if either of the other two guys go down for any extended period, the D-Backs’ only replacement option off the bench is some 28-year-old 4-A dude named Jeff Salazar, a guy who nobody would want to see playing in the outfield every day.
Colorado Rockies – a left-handed reliever
Like the Diamondbacks, the Rockies are another team with very few holes left, having fulfilled their promise to the fans to return last year’s World Series squad virtually intact. They did “lose” Kazuo Matsui to the Astros, but that may well be a blessing, as it opens up a spot for top infield prospect and purported defensive wizard Jayson Nix, and even if Nix falters, the Rocks still have several other options to choose from at the keystone, including prospects Omar Quintanilla, Jeff Baker, and Ian Stewart, and former Braves star Marcus Giles, whom they just inked to a minor-league deal.
The Rockies are set to turn over half their bullpen, however, with LaTroy Hawkins having already bolted for the Yankees and free agents Jorge Julio and Jeremy Affeldt set to depart as well. Although the Rockies were able to sign Luis Vizcaino to fill Hawkins’ shoes, they probably need to sign at least one more reliever, especially a left-hander to fill the situational lefty role Affeldt handled last season, as they have no particularly appealing internal options to replace him.
Los Angeles Dodgers – continue resisting the temptation to trade away their young guns
A good argument could be made that the Dodgers could have improved their team dramatically by making no moves whatsoever this offseason, and just letting their highly touted, major-league ready prospects have a chance to show what they can do.
Of course, Ned Colletti being Ned Colletti, he had to go out and sign at least a few big names, giving fairly outrageous contracts to outfielder Andrew Jones and Japanese import Hiroki Kuroda. But so far he has resisted the deluge of trade offers for coveted young players like Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, and James Loney, and if he can keep on resisting those offers, as well as the temptation to block them any further with free agent signings, the Dodgers should be in pretty good shape to make a run at the playoffs this season.
San Francisco Giants – EVERYTHING
Here is a short list of the things the Giants need: a first baseman, a second baseman, a third baseman, a starting pitcher, a closer, and three other relievers of any ability. Outside of the outfield (Rowand, Roberts, Randy Winn), and the young arms in the rotation (Cain, Lowry, Lincecum), this team is going to be absolutely terrible, and they have no promising prospects of any real note on the way either. The Giants are well nigh a stone cold lock to have the worst offense in the National League this year.