Pitchers and catchers report in about two months, but this doesn't silence the baseball talk. Let's look at the NL West thus far. We'll start with the Giants and then move on to different teams on different posts. Be sure to take the appropriate themed poll on the right.
The Winter Meetings have started, but it seems the Giants prefer to stand pat. They have publicly stated they aren't going after any of the top free agents, and why should they? The team of misfits they put together last year achieved baseball immortality, so why should the team be assembled any differently?
So far, the Giants appear to be the favorite in 2011. They have retained most of their tremendous pitching staff, who was first in baseball in ERA and strikeouts in 2010. All they lost were the likes of Guillermo Mota and Chris Ray, but their whole starting rotation remains in tact for 2011 and beyond.
The Giants' offense only needs to be passable to win the West, but anything less will not get the job done. In 2009, the Giants' offense was abysmal, one of the worst in baseball history. Even so, they somehow won 88 games, but it was not enough to beat out the Rockies for the Wild Card. In 2010, the Giants were closer to the middle of the pact in hitting, and they won the West with 92 games. Now that the Giants added Tejada, Cody Ross (mid-2010), Pat Burrell (mid-2010), and a more healthy Pablo Sandoval (who lost 15 pounds in San Diego so far), the Giants' offense is a worlds better than on April of 2010. Not to mention a stronger bench, with Mark Derosa returning in 2011. Don't forget Buster Posey who just jolted the offense in July.
The one weakness I see for the Giants is athleticism. With the exception of Torres and Schierholtz, team speed is week and so is their range. If Pablo Sandoval loses a few more pounds, I think he can give the Giants more athleticism as he did when he first came up in 2008. Watch any of his baserunning from '08, and you would think he was Carl Crawford compared to the way he runs now. Right now, I think the Giants need to pick up a speedster who isn't a loss at the plate (not an Eugenio Velez). Darren Ford can fly, but I don't think the Giants trust him entirely at the plate yet.
That said, I pick the San Francisco Giants to win the West once again. Their pitching is just superb, and I think having Burrell, Ross, Buster Posey, and Torres in the lineup for a full season will get them 95-100 wins. Imagine how many of those early season 2010 games they would have won with these players.
Next, we will look at the Los Angeles Dodgers. Uribe is a Dodger, but will it really help them? Stay tuned for their analysis. Also, be sure to take my poll on the right! For more on the Dodgers, check out the LA Sports Minute Blog on the right. My man Cody Binyon has got some good thoughts, although I disagree with him about how the Dodgers are good.
Also, I will give out my awards for 2010 for all of baseball!
One more thing. I am thinking of conducting interviews with baseball fans a la Marty Lurie and posting them here. Let me know what you think or if you want to be an interviewee! I like meeting new people and talking baseball, so I feel this would be a great little project for me. Post your comments and let me know.
If you have any questions or comments about my blog, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.