- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Capsules of National League West teams, listed in order of finish last year:


Los Angeles Dodgers

2013: 92-70, first place (lost to Cardinals in NLCS).

Manager: Don Mattingly (fourth season).

He’s Here: RHP Dan Haren, RHP Chris Perez, 2B Alex Guerrero, RHP Jamey Wright, RHP Seth Rosin, INF Chone Figgins, LHP Paul Maholm.

He’s Outta Here: 2B Mark Ellis, 2B-OF Skip Schumaker, INF Nick Punto, RHP Edinson Volquez, RHP Ricky Nolasco, RHP Ronald Belisario, 3B Jerry Hairston Jr., INF Michael Young, LHP Chris Capuano, RHP Carlos Marmol.

Projected Lineup: RF Yasiel Puig (.319, 19 HRs, 42 RBIs), LF Carl Crawford (.283, 6, 31), SS Hanley Ramirez (.345, 20, 57), 1B Adrian Gonzalez (.293, 22, 100), CF Andre Ethier (.272, 12, 52), 3B Juan Uribe (.278, 12, 50), C A.J. Ellis (.238, 10, 52), 2B Dee Gordon (.234, 1, 6).

Rotation: LH Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83 ERA, 232 Ks, won 2nd Cy Young Award), RH Zack Greinke (15-4, 2.63, 148 Ks), LH Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-8, 3.00, 154 Ks), RH Dan Haren (10-14, 4.67, 151 Ks with Washington), LH Paul Maholm (10-11, 4.41, 105 Ks with Atlanta).

Key Relievers: RH Kenley Jansen (4-3, 1.88, 28/32 saves), RH Brian Wilson (2-1, 0.66), LH J.P. Howell (4-1, 2.03), RH Chris Perez (5-3, 4.33, 25/30 saves with Cleveland), LH Paco Rodriguez (3-4, 2.32, 2 saves), RH Jamey Wright (2-2, 3.09 with Tampa Bay).

Hot Spots: CF Matt Kemp continues his comeback from left ankle surgery last fall. He’s been playing in minor league games during camp and wasn’t in Australia with the rest of the team for its season-opening series against Arizona. Also not making the trip was Crawford, who stayed back for the birth of his child, as well as Greinke, Haren and injured RHP Josh Beckett. Greinke has been bothered by a right calf strain.

Outlook: Kershaw, coming off his second Cy Young Award at age 25, anchors one of the deepest rotations in baseball. He received a $215 million, seven-year contract during the offseason, making him baseball’s richest pitcher. The Dodgers bolstered the rotation with the addition of Haren, who got a $10 million, one-year deal. Beckett and RHP Chad Billingsley are trying to bounce back from surgeries. Puig, who struggled offensively in spring training, tries to follow up his stellar rookie season while facing questions about his maturity after an offseason arrest for speeding. Mattingly starts the season with a new three-year deal, shedding the lame-duck status that dogged him last year.


Arizona Diamondbacks

2013: 81-81, second place.

Manager: Kirk Gibson (fourth season).

He’s Here: OF Mark Trumbo, RHP Bronson Arroyo, RHP Addison Reed, LHP Oliver Perez.

He’s Outta Here: OF Adam Eaton, SS Willie Bloomquist, LHP Tyler Skaggs, RHP Heath Bell, C Wil Nieves, 3B Matt Davidson.

Projected Lineup: CF A.J. Pollock (.269, 8 HRs, 38 RBIs, 28 doubles, 8 triples), 2B Aaron Hill (.291, 11, 41), 1B Paul Goldschmidt (.302, 36, 125, 36 doubles, runner-up for NL MVP), 3B Martin Prado (.282, 14, 82, 36 doubles), LF Mark Trumbo (.234, 34, 100, 30 doubles, 184 Ks with Angels), C Miguel Montero (.230, 11, 42), RF Gerardo Parra (.268, 10, 48, 43 doubles), SS Didi Gregorius (.252, 7, 28) or Chris Owings (.330, 12, 81 for Triple-A Reno).

Rotation: LH Wade Miley (10-10, 3.55 ERA), RH Trevor Cahill (8-10, 3.99), RH Brandon McCarthy (5-11, 4.53), RH Bronson Arroyo (14-12, 3.79 with Cincinnati), RH Randall Delgado (5-7, 4.26) or RH Archie Bradley (12-5, 1.97, 119 Ks for Double-A Mobile).

Key Relievers: RH Addison Reed (5-4, 3.79, 40/48 saves with White Sox), RH Brad Zeigler (8-1, 2.22, 13/15 saves), RH David Hernandez (5-6, 4.48), RH J.J. Putz (3-1, 2.36, 6/11 saves), RH Josh Collmenter (5-5, 3.13), LH Oliver Perez (3-3, 3.74 with Seattle).

Hot Spots: Starting rotation. The elbow injury to All-Star lefty Patrick Corbin is a big blow to a unit already full of questions. The Diamondbacks were 23-8 in Corbin’s starts last season, 58-73 with anyone else. Miley, a 16-game winner two seasons ago, seems the best of the rest. Arroyo should provide some stability and durability, his sore back in training camp notwitstanding. The underachieving Cahill and injury-prone McCarthy round out the group. That leaves an opening, and the big question is whether Bradley, a premier prospect, opens with the club or gets more minor league seasoning before an inevitable call-up later in the year. If he sits in the minors for a while, Arizona adds a year to its control of his contract, but it may not be able to afford the wait.

Outlook: The top offseason priority for GM Kevin Towers was adding some power to help Goldschmidt, and he did that in acquiring Trumbo, the big-hitting but strikeout-prone player who will be the everyday left fielder. Priority No. 2 was a veteran starter, and that was accomplished by signing Arroyo. Much depends on team health. Injuries to Hill, Montero and OF Cody Ross helped derail last season. Now things are off to a bad start this year with Corbin. If Bradley can be the pitcher everybody thinks he can be, and do it in a hurry, or if the Diamondbacks can land another solid starter, they could be in the wild-card race and be there to take advantage should their hated foes the Dodgers falter.


San Diego Padres

2012: 76-86, tied for third place.

Manager: Bud Black (eighth season).

He’s Here: RHP Josh Johnson, RHP Joaquin Benoit, LHP Alex Torres, OF Seth Smith, SS Ryan Jackson.

He’s Outta Here: RHP Luke Gregerson, INF Logan Forsythe, INF-OF Jesus Guzman, OF Mark Kotsay.

Projected Lineup: SS Everth Cabrera (.283, 4 HRs, 31 RBIs, 37 SBs in 95 games), CF Will Venable (.268, 22, 53), 3B Chase Headley (.250, 13, 50), LF Carlos Quentin (.275, 13, 44 in 82 games), 2B Jedd Gyorko (.249, 23, 63), 1B Yonder Alonso (.281, 6, 45), RF Seth Smith (.253, 8, 40 with Oakland) or Chris Denorfia (.279, 10, 47), C Yasmani Grandal (.216, 1, 9) or Nick Hundley (.233, 13, 44).

Rotation: RH Andrew Cashner (10-9, 3.09 ERA), RH Tyson Ross (3-8, 3.17), RH Josh Johnson (2-8, 6.20 with Toronto), RH Ian Kennedy (7-10, 4.91 with Arizona and San Diego), LH Eric Stults (11-13, 3.93).

Key Relievers: RH Huston Street (2-5, 2.70, 33/35 saves), RH Joaquin Benoit (4-1, 2.01, 24/26 with Detroit), RH Dale Thayer (3-5, 3.32), RH Nick Vincent (6-3, 2.14), LH Alex Torres (4-2, 1.71).

Hot Spots: The Padres go into the season without having resolved Headley’s contract situation. The sides failed to agree to a long-term deal before last season and the third baseman called off talks early in the year because he didn’t want to negotiate during the season. There was no progress this offseason, either. If Headley is not traded, he can leave as a free agent after the season. He had a breakout season in 2012, hitting .286 with 31 homers and 115 RBIs, as well as winning his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. He cooled off last year and agreed to a one-year deal worth $10,525,000 to avoid arbitration, a raise from $8,575,000 last season.

Outlook: While some people think San Diego will contend for a wild-card spot, the burden of proof is squarely on the Padres after seasons with 91, 86 and 86 losses. They added more players than usual in the offseason and are increasing payroll. Then again, local and TV money is increasing this season. The reason for the optimism is the pitching staff, which is led by Cashner and was bolstered by the addition of Johnson. The Padres had hoped they were getting a healthy Johnson, but he is expected to be out four to five weeks after straining his right forearm late in spring training. Johnson was an All-Star with the Marlins in 2009 and 2010, and led the NL with a 2.30 ERA in 2010. But he struggled last season with Toronto and had bone spurs removed from his right elbow. The Padres also signed Benoit, who had been Detroit’s closer. The Padres will be relying on five players coming off surgeries: Johnson, Quentin (knee), Headley (knee), center fielder Cameron Maybin (wrist) and Grandal (knee). The Padres already had a setback when it was announced that left-hander Cory Luebke needs a second reconstructive elbow surgery and will miss the 2014 season. He missed all of last season while rehabbing after having his first surgery in May 2012. The team expects young pitchers Joe Wieland and Casey Kelly to return at some point from reconstructive elbow surgeries. However, Wieland will have arthroscopic surgery to relieve irritation in the back of his elbow, pushing back his return. Black thinks Wieland can return before the All-Star break.


San Francisco Giants

2013: 76-86, tied for third place.

Manager: Bruce Bochy (eighth season).

He’s Here: RHP Tim Hudson, OF Michael Morse, RHP David Huff.

He’s Outta Here: LHP Barry Zito, OF Andres Torres, RHP Chad Gaudin, LHP Jose Mijares, OF Brett Pill, RHP Guillermo Moscoso, RHP Sandy Rosario.

Projected Lineup: CF Angel Pagan (.282, 5 HRs, 30 RBIs), 2B Marco Scutaro (.297, 2, 31), 3B Pablo Sandoval (.278, 14, 79), C Buster Posey (.294, 15, 72, 34 doubles), RF Hunter Pence (.283, 27, 99, 35 doubles, 22 SBs), 1B Brandon Belt (.289, 17, 67, 39 doubles), LF Michael Morse (.215, 13, 27 with Baltimore and Seattle), SS Brandon Crawford (.248, 9, 43).

Rotation: LH Madison Bumgarner (13-9, 2.77 ERA), RH Matt Cain (8-10, 4.00), RH Tim Hudson (8-7, 3.97 with Atlanta), RH Tim Lincecum (10-14, 4.37), RH Ryan Vogelsong (4-6, 5.73).

Key Relievers: RH Sergio Romo (5-8. 2.54, 38/43 saves), LH Javier Lopez (4-2, 1.83, 1 save, .156 BA vs LH), RH Santiago Casilla (7-2, 2.16, 2 saves), LH Jeremy Affeldt (1-5, 3.74).

Hot Spots: Starting rotation. After being the strength of the team on the way to two World Series titles in three years, the struggles of the rotation was a big reason for last season’s drop-off. Cain had his highest ERA since his first full season in 2006 as he gave up a career-high 23 homers. Lincecum had his second straight season with an ERA over 4.00 as he struggles to adjust without the velocity that helped him win two Cy Young Awards. Vogelsong’s ERA jumped more than two runs and his strikeout, walk and home run rates were all his worst in three seasons since rejoining the Giants. Bumgarner was the consistent starter, but San Francisco will need bounce-back seasons from the others and Hudson, coming off a serious ankle injury, if it wants to compete.

Outlook: The Giants narrowly avoided becoming the second team to go from a World Series title to last place, beating out Colorado by two games last season. Despite the disappointing result, GM Brian Sabean made few big moves in the offseason after re-signing Lincecum and Pence in the hope that his own players can rebound to their championship level. Having a healthy Pagan at the top of the lineup will be a big help. San Francisco was tied for first place when Pagan went down with a serious hamstring injury in late May and then went 49-64 the rest of the way. Along with a healthy Pagan, the Giants are hoping weight loss and a contract year provide a needed spark for Sandoval, and Morse adds needed power to left field after San Francisco got a major league-low five home runs from that position last season.


Colorado Rockies

2013: 74-88, fifth place.

Manager: Walt Weiss (second season).

He’s Here: LHP Brett Anderson, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, LHP Boone Logan, LHP Franklin Morales, RHP Jordan Lyles, OF Brandon Barnes, 1B Justin Morneau, OF Drew Stubbs.

He’s Outta Here: 1B Todd Helton, INF Jonathan Herrera, OF Dexter Fowler, LHP Josh Outman, LHP Jeff Francis, RHP Rafael Betancourt, RHP Roy Oswalt, C Yorvit Torrealba, LHP Drew Pomeranz.

Projected Lineup: CF Drew Stubbs (.233, 10 HRs, 45 RBIs, 17 SBs with Cleveland) or Corey Dickerson (.263, 5, 17) or Brandon Barnes (.240, 8, 41 with Houston), RF Michael Cuddyer (.331, 20, 84, 31 doubles), LF Carlos Gonzalez (.302, 26, 70, 21 SBs), SS Troy Tulowitzki (.312, 25, 82), 1B Justin Morneau (.259, 17, 77 with Twins and Pirates), C Wilin Rosario (.292, 21, 79), 3B Nolan Arenado (.267, 10, 52), 2B D.J. LeMahieu (.280, 2, 28).

Rotation: LH Jorge De La Rosa (16-6, 3.49 ERA, 112 Ks), RH Jhoulys Chacin (14-10, 3.47, team-high 126 Ks), LH Brett Anderson (1-4, 6.04 in 44 2-3 IP with Oakland), RH Tyler Chatwood (8-5, 3.15, 66 Ks), RH Juan Nicasio (9-9, 5.14, 119 Ks).

Key Relievers: RH LaTroy Hawkins (3-2, 2.93, 13/16 saves with Mets), LH Rex Brothers (2-1, 1.74, 19/21 saves), RH Matt Belisle (5-7, 4.32), LH Boone Logan (5-2, 3.23 with Yankees), RH Wilton Lopez (3-4, 4.06).

Hot Spots: The Rockies have been keeping a close watch on Chacin’s sore shoulder this spring. Chacin was the team’s top right-handed starter a year ago and he’s an integral part of a revamped rotation. Should he miss any time, Franklin Morales or Jordan Lyles figures to step in. Gonzalez strained his right middle finger last season, dramatically affecting his power, but appears to be healed. Although he opted against offseason surgery, Gonzalez has moved his right hand up on the bat in the hope he won’t aggravate the finger again. Cuddyer, Gonzalez, Tulowitzki, Morneau and Rosario form a potent middle-of-the-lineup combination.

Outlook: The Rockies will miss the clubhouse leadership of Helton, who hung up his spikes after 17 seasons in the Mile High City. His replacement at first, Morneau, isn’t trying to be Helton - “irreplaceable,” Morneau said of Helton - but merely fit in. Like Helton, Morneau has quite a knack for making his fielders look good by scooping anything in the area. The Rockies shored up their bullpen, which was an area of concern after last season when they posted an NL-worst 4.23 ERA. The biggest key to Colorado’s season is the health of Tulowitzki, who has played in 438 of a possible 648 games over the past four seasons because of an assortment of ailments that included a broken wrist, groin injury and broken rib.

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