Categorized | Mark Timmons

Wild Wild West

Wild Wild West

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.

About Rory

I have been a Dodger fan since 1959 when my grandpa took me to my first game at the Coliseum. I even went to a World Series game that year, sat in front of Joe DiMaggio and behind Nat King Cole. As a young boy in Canoga Park I can remember falling asleep every night, with the window open and crickets in background, listening to Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett on my turquoise Admiral radio. To this day whenever I hear Vinnie's voice I am taken back to that time. I was a decent enough player in high school, a shortstop, to be offered a try out with the Dodgers. It was a hot late Spring day in Fullerton and I played very well. I was pulled aside by a scout who informed me the Dodgers wanted me as a second baseman. Problem was, I had already committed to the Marine Corps. I survived my tour in Vietnam and came back to start my adult civilian life with no idea what I was destined to do. I have changed careers many times over the years and I often wonder how my life would have been different had I taken that second base job back in 1966. I love baseball and played it in the MABL in Northern California until I was 56 years old. I am now 61 and my playing days are sadly over. But, I will be a Dodger fan forever. I bleed blue, and I will support my team until my time here is done.

12 Responses to “Wild Wild West”

  1. DRomo says:

    Great take Mark! The division is going to be tough this year, very tough. I can honestly see the division winner with less than 90 wins. The reason being this division will beat each other up and split alot of series. The AL Central is alot like that from year to year. I would tend to think that who ever makes the right mid season moves will be the winner. There are some real quality arms in this division (Our rotation is definitely the thinnest)and whoever gets the offense will have the most success.

  2. DRomo says:

    Sorry Rory, I just noticed you wrote this article! Great job!

  3. Rory says:

    I agree Romey. This could be the toughest of all divisions to win. And, that is a good thing. I like to see competitive baseball being played and always…. I anticipate our Dodgers ending up on top.

    And I also agree that a mid season move will likely be key for whoever ends up taking the West. My feeling is we will need another arm in the rotation to finish strong and be in position to dethrone the Phillies. They are the power in the NL and will be prohibitive favorites. We can take them if we have the pitching in place.

  4. Ty says:

    The DBacks, Rockies and Gnats will challege us for the West title.

    The DBacks feature a very solid lineup and one of the best rotations in the NL (if Webb stays healthy).

    The Rockies are coming off a solid year and also have a good overall team. No superstars in the lineup or rotation but very solid players.

    The Gnats will win due to their pitching. Their lineup improved a bit with the additions of DeRosa and Huff but is still far from average.

    Predicted Order of Finish: Dodgers, DBacks, Rockies, Gnats, Padres

    It’s going to be a very strong division outside of the putrid Padres. Any one of the top four teams could finish first or fourth. It’ll be a very tight race.

  5. Jaydavis says:

    Who cares about winning the west. Pennant, pennant, pennant, and a good fight in the WS, that would be lovely.
    J

  6. Rory says:

    I care about winning the West. It’s the clearest path to the World Series. In fact, if the West goes the way I think it will, the Wild Card won’t come out of the West. Just a hunch.

  7. steevo17 says:

    Recent history shows that the West (both NL & AL) is always being underestimated, to wit: 3 of the last 4 years have resulted in the wildcard team coming out of the West in the NL. The last 3 years have seen a West Division rep in the NLCS, including 2007 when both (D-Backs and Rockies) teams represented the West.

    In the AL since 2000, at least one team in the ALCS has represented the West Division. This includes 3 consecutive years; 2000-02, when the West had 2 reps and at least one made the ALCS also.

    Outside of the ridiculously rich Yankees and Red Sox, the mighty AL East has only had one other rep: the D-Rays in 2008. Not so balanced at all.

    I agree that the NL West will most likely beat each other silly through the upcoming season and with that in mind, 90 wins would be aomething of an accomplishment.

    It is also apparent to me that the Dodgers are the most complete team in the division. Maybe the best offense, power and speed. Maybe the best defense, certainly up the middle. Maybe the best pitching, the bullpen being the strength here.

    If we repeat last years performances by Kemp, Ethier and Kershaw and then Billingsley, Loney and Martin return to form…well you know how I feel.

    Lots of “Ifs” I know, but these “Ifs” are more than realistic.

    • steevo17 says:

      Correction: In the AL since 2000, at least one team in the ALCS has represented the West Division SIX (6) TIMES. Sorry left out the total.

  8. Elli Light says:

    Rory

    Yes, parity is generally determined at time of trial. But there are always exceptions.

  9. Rory says:

    Hope you are right Elli. McDimes could use an exception. Somehow, I don’t expect a merciful divorce court. Guess maybe I am just a bitter old badger with lingering scars from the experience.

    “the NL West will most likely beat each other silly through the upcoming season”

    Well put steevo. I agree that 90 wins takes the West. The next two teams behind that figure might have 89 and 88 wins – it really could be that close. And certainly that could get a team into the play-offs. But, I have a feeling the Mets, Cubs, Braves and maybe even the Marlins, are going to make some noise and be in that mid to high 80′s win count. It should be close anyway, and that is why I really want to win the division. And, home field would be nice again, though against the Phillies it didn’t help much did it.

  10. Rory says:

    I know this has been discussed, but the way Josh puts it makes it worth re-reading:

    “the existential crisis [he] underwent when first hearing the Dodgers had traded this great catching prospect for an old, not very good impending free agent. It can’t possibly be real.”

    couldn’t have put it better myself.

    http://www.dodgerdivorce.com/

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