Recent debates here at LADodgerTalk have been heated and centered around how good the Dodgers will, or will not be. We have touched on whether Frank McCourt will, or will not, be able to hold on to his ownership. There is no shortage of opinion on this topic, and Joshua over at DodgerDivorce gives a lucid daily update on where that issue stands. Both Ken and Lawdog have weighed in on the legal minutia that surrounds the McCourts and it is still very much up in the air. California law has been clear in it’s position on division of property, especially in cases where the parties have been together for decades. Will the postnup that was signed late in the marriage be recognized by the courts? Personally, I cannot see how an agreement that grants one party about 90% of accrued assets can be honored, but, I am not a lawyer. I am only one of the many thousands who, in divorce court, got stripped by the law. We will see how that plays out in the McCourt case, but we will not know for months. In the mean time, what the impending divorce’s actual effect on the team will be is obvious to some, irrelevent to others.
This morning I would like to offer a first in a personal assessment of what lies ahead in the NL West. In reading about the other teams in our division, I can’t help but feel every team there will be better, but, is that actually possible?
The Arizona Diamondbacks. 2009 Results: Finished 70-92, last place in NL West. I think it is safe to say this won’t happen again.
Notable Additions: Edwin Jackson, Adam LaRoche, Kelly Johnson, Aaron Heilman, Bob Howry, and Ian Kennedy
Notable Departures: Eric Byrnes, Chad Tracy, Doug Davis, Scott Shoeneweis, Max Scherzer, and Daniel Schlereth
2009 was a mess of underperforming and injuries for the D-Backs. Like many teams, IF the team can remain uninjured, there is considerable hope for this club.
2010 promises to be a lot better with Brandon Webb returning from injury and the flurry of activity during this offseason. The D-Backs have thus far been the most active team in the division, adding several free agents and pulling off a big three-team trade with the Tigers and Yankees.
If healthy, the top of their rotation (Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, and Edwin Jackson) could be considered among the best in the division, but there are questions about the bottom of the rotation.
There is some serious young talent on this team, and it is time for all of them to step up. Stephen Drew, Chris Young, and Justin Upton are still looking to reach their full potential. Justin Upton has the tools to be a Super Star in this league. Is this the year his potential is realized? Mark Reynolds has proven he is the most powerful clean-up hitter in the division. Look for a repeat of his 40 home runs and 100+ rbi in 2010. Catcher Miguel Monterro is young and aggressive, look for him to hit .290 again with 20 home run potential. Adam LaRoche will fit nicely in this lineup at first base, with 20+ home runs. The Dbacks look for second baseman Kelly Johnson to return to his Atlanta form, with .280 avg. and 15 home runs. Conor Jackson is apparently ready to play, is a .300 hitter and he too has 20 home run power. The Dbacks bench could be one of the best in the league, with Snyder, Parra, Roberts and Abreu all scrappy, capable ballplayers.
The ability of this team to return to competing for the West title is tied to Webb’s return to form. All early reports say he is on schedule to be the Opening Day starter and that is great news for for Diamondback fans.
My prediction – easily a .500 team. If all goes right for them, they could win 90 games this coming year and give the Dodgers a run for the West title.