2007: 89-73, first place.
Manager: Charlie Manuel (4th season).
He’s Here: RHP Brad Lidge, 3B Pedro Feliz, OF Geoff Jenkins, OF So Taguchi, INF Eric Bruntlett, RHP Chad Durbin, RHP Kris Benson.
He’s Outta Here: CF Aaron Rowand, OF Michael Bourn, 2B Tadahito Iguchi, RHP Geoff Geary, INF Abraham Nunez, RHP Jon Lieber, RHP Freddy Garcia.
Projected Lineup: SS Jimmy Rollins (.296, 30 HRs, 94 RBIs), CF Shane Victorino (.281, 12, 46), 2B Chase Utley (.332, 22, 103), 1B Ryan Howard (.268, 47, 136), LF Pat Burrell (.256, 30, 97), 3B Pedro Feliz (.253, 20, 72 with Giants), RF Geoff Jenkins (.255, 21, 64 with Brewers) and Jayson Werth (.298, 8, 49), C Carlos Ruiz (.259, 6, 54).
Rotation: RH Brett Myers (5-7, 4.33 ERA, 21 saves), LH Cole Hamels (15-5, 3.39), LH Jamie Moyer (14-12, 5.01), RH Kyle Kendrick (10-4, 3.87), RH Adam Eaton 10-10, 6.29) or RH Chad Durbin (8-7, 4.72 with Tigers).
Key Relievers: RH Brad Lidge (5-3, 3.36, 19/27 saves with Astros), RH Tom Gordon (3-2, 4.73), LH J.C. Romero (1-2, 1.24; 1-0, 3.15 with Red Sox), RH Ryan Madson (2-2, 3.05).
Hot Spots: No. 5 starter and the bullpen. None of the candidates vying for the final spot in the rotation have pitched well enough to claim it this spring. The decision to move Myers back into the rotation after he was successful as a closer could backfire.
Stat Sheet: Kendrick came out of nowhere last season, but struggled in spring training.
Bottom Line: The Phillies got a taste of the playoffs for the first time in 14 years, but were swept in the first round by Colorado. Just getting there won’t be enough this year in a city starved for a championship. A potent offense will score plenty of runs.
New York Mets
2007: 88-74, second place.
Manager: Willie Randolph (4th season).
He’s Here: LHP Johan Santana, C Brian Schneider, RF Ryan Church, OF Angel Pagan, RHP Matt Wise, RHP Brian Stokes, RHP Steven Register, RHP Ruddy Lugo, LHP Ricardo Rincon.
He’s Outta Here: LHP Tom Glavine, C Paul Lo Duca, RF Shawn Green, RHP Guillermo Mota, OF Lastings Milledge, RHP Aaron Sele, OF Carlos Gomez, RHP Philip Humber, OF-INF David Newhan, C Sandy Alomar Jr., 1B-OF Jeff Conine, C Mike DiFelice, LHP Dave Williams.
Projected Lineup: SS Jose Reyes (.280, 12 HRs, 57 RBIs), 2B Luis Castillo (.301, 1, 38 with Twins and Mets), 3B David Wright (.325, 30, 107), CF Carlos Beltran (.276, 33, 112), 1B Carlos Delgado (.258, 24, 87), LF Moises Alou (.341, 13, 49), RF Ryan Church (.272, 15, 70 with Nationals), C Brian Schneider (.235, 6, 54 with Nationals).
Rotation: LH Johan Santana (15-13, 3.33 ERA with Twins), RH Pedro Martinez (3-1, 2.57), RH John Maine (15-10, 3.91), LH Oliver Perez (15-10, 3.56), RH Orlando Hernandez (9-5, 3.72) or RH Mike Pelfrey (3-8, 5.57).
Key Relievers: LH Billy Wagner (2-2, 2.63, 34/39 saves), RH Aaron Heilman (7-7, 3.03), LH Pedro Feliciano (2-2, 3.09), RH Duaner Sanchez (injured since July 2006 taxi accident), LH Scott Schoeneweis (0-2, 5.03), RH Matt Wise (3-2, 4.19 with Brewers), RH Jorge Sosa (9-8, 4.47).
Hot Spots: The corner outfielders. The 41-year-old Alou is productive when he plays, but he’s injury-prone and will begin the season on the disabled list. Church batted only .229 with one home run against left-handers last year. The Mets could use a proven right-handed bat with pop to plug in occasionally at the corner outfield spots.
Stat Sheet: Delgado is coming off the worst full season of his prolific career.
Bottom Line: The Mets are a National League favorite thanks to the trade for Santana, a two-time Cy Young Award winner. He’s already helped them move beyond last September’s embarrassing collapse, when the Mets squandered a seven-game NL East lead with 17 to play and missed the playoffs.
2007: 84-78, third place.
Manager: Bobby Cox (19th season)
He’s Here: LHP Tom Glavine, OF Mark Kotsay, RHP Jair Jurrjens, LHP Will Ohman, INF Omar Infante, C Javy Lopez.
He’s Outta Here: CF Andruw Jones, SS Edgar Renteria, OF Willie Harris, RHP Oscar Villareal, LHP Ron Mahay, RHP Joey Devine, RHP Octavio Dotel, INF Manny Aybar, RHP Lance Cormier.
Projected Lineup: 2B Kelly Johnson (.276, 16 HRs), SS Yunel Escobar (.326, 5, 28), 3B Chipper Jones (.337, 29, 102), 1B Mark Teixeira (.306, 30, 105 with Rangers and Braves), C Brian McCann (.270, 18, 92), RF Jeff Francoeur (.293, 19, 105), CF Mark Kotsay (.214, 1, 20 with A’s), LF Matt Diaz (.338, 12, 45).
Rotation: RH Tim Hudson (16-10, 3.33 ERA), RH John Smoltz (14-8, 3.11), LH Tom Glavine (13-8, 4.45 with Mets), RH Jair Jurrjins (3-1, 4.70 with Tigers), LH Mike Hampton (did not pitch in 2006 or 2007) or LH Chuck James (11-10, 4.24).
Key Relievers: RH Rafael Soriano (3-3, 3.00, 9/12 saves), RH Peter Moylan (5-3, 1.80), LH Will Ohman (2-4, 4.95), RH Manny Acosta (1-1, 2.28), RH Blaine Boyer (4-3, 4.30), RH Tyler Yates (2-3, 5.18).
Hot Spots: Center field and the bullpen. Kotsay has some big shoes to fill in center after 10-time Gold Glove winner Andruw Jones signed with the Dodgers. With Mike Gonzalez still on the mend from elbow surgery, Soriano is the undisputed closer.
Stat Sheet: Hudson and Smoltz combined to go 30-18, but the other starters had a total record of 28-40.
Bottom Line: The Braves were eager to improve their rotation after last year. Glavine turns 42 just before opening day, but should be a big improvement as the No. 3 starter. The 22-year-old Jurrjens, acquired in the deal that sent Renteria to the Tigers, could be a fixture in the rotation for years to come.
2007: 73-89, fourth place.
Manager: Manny Acta (2nd season).
He’s Here: C Paul Lo Duca, C Johnny Estrada, INF Aaron Boone, INF Bret Boone, OF Lastings Milledge, OF Elijah Dukes, LHP Odalis Perez, OF Rob Mackowiak, INF-OF Willie Harris.
He’s Outta Here: C Brian Schneider, OF Ryan Church, RHP John Patterson, 1B-C Robert Fick, OF Nook Logan, INF D’Angelo Jimenez, RHP Jason Simontacchi, RHP Jonathan Albaladejo.
Projected Lineup: SS Cristian Guzman (.328, 2 HRs, 14 RBIs), CF Lastings Milledge (.272, 7, 29 with Mets), 3B Ryan Zimmerman (.266, 24, 91), 1B Nick Johnson (missed last season while recovering from broken leg) or Dmitri Young (.320, 13, 74), RF Austin Kearns (.266, 16, 74), LF Wily Mo Pena (.253, 13, 39 for Red Sox and Nationals), C Paul Lo Duca (.272, 9, 54 for Mets), 2B Ronnie Belliard (.290, 11, 58).
Rotation: RH Shawn Hill (4-5, 3.42 ERA), LH Odalis Perez (8-11, 5.57 for Royals), RH Jason Bergmann (6-6, 4.45), RH Tim Redding (3-6, 3.64), LH Matt Chico (7-9, 4.63) or LH John Lannan (2-2, 4.15 in 6 starts).
Key Relievers: RH Chad Cordero (3-3, 3.36, 37/46 saves), RH Jon Rauch (8-4, 3.61), RH Luis Ayala (2-2, 3.19), RH Jesus Colome (5-1, 3.82), LH Ray King (1-1, 4.76 for Brewers and Nationals), RH Joel Hanrahan (5-3, 6.00), RH Saul Rivera (4-6, 3.68).
Hot Spots: Dukes, the rotation, first base, the middle infield. Dukes has tons of talent and tons of baggage, including arrests and suspensions. The Nationals are hoping Hill can get healthy and Perez can be the effective pitcher he was from 2002-04 with the Dodgers. Trades could resolve the situation at first and the glut in the middle infield.
Stat Sheet: The Nationals had the worst offense in the majors while at cavernous RFK Stadium.
Bottom Line: There’s more talent and depth, but not much in the way of significant upgrades. Dukes (if he stays out of trouble) and Milledge could add excitement to the lineup. But the team’s most expensive offseason acquisition, Lo Duca, had nearly the same power numbers as Schneider in 2007 — and is coming off knee surgery.
2007: 71-91, fifth place.
Manager: Fredi Gonzalez (2nd season).
He’s Here: LHP Andrew Miller, CF Cameron Maybin, OF Luis Gonzalez, LHP Mark Hendrickson, C Mike Rabelo, INF Jorge Cantu, INF Jose Castillo, INF Dallas McPherson.
He’s Outta Here: 3B Miguel Cabrera, LHP Dontrelle Willis, 1B Aaron Boone, RHP Armando Benitez, OF Joe Borchard, OF Reggie Abercrombie.
Projected Lineup: SS Hanley Ramirez (.332, 29 HRs, 81 RBIs), 2B Dan Uggla (.245, 31, 88), 1B Mike Jacobs (.265, 17, 54), LF Josh Willingham (.265, 21, 89), RF Jeremy Hermida (.296, 18, 63), CF Cameron Maybin (.304 at Class-A) or Cody Ross (.335, 12, 39), 3B Jorge Cantu (.252, 1, 13 with Reds and Rays), C Mike Rabelo (.256, 1, 18 with Tigers).
Rotation: LH Scott Olsen (10-15, 5.81 ERA), LH Andrew Miller (5-5, 5.63 with Tigers), LH Mark Hendrickson (4-8, 5.21 with Dodgers), RH Ricky Nolasco (1-2, 5.48), RH Rick VandenHurk (4-6, 6.83).
Key Relievers: RH Kevin Gregg (0-5, 3.54, 32/36 saves), LH Taylor Tankersley (6-1, 3.99), RH Matt Lindstrom (3-4, 3.09), RH Lee Gardner (3-4, 1.94), LH Renyel Pinto (2-4, 3.68), RH Justin Miller (5-0, 3.65), RH Logan Kensing (3-0, 1.35).
Hot Spot: The rotation could be even worse than last year, when Florida’s starters had a 5.58 ERA, highest in the major leagues. The wave of injuries that plagued the starters last year continued in spring training.
Stat Sheet: The best thing Florida did last year was hit homers — a team-record 201.
Bottom Line: A new ballpark is finally on the horizon for the NL’s most frugal franchise, but owner Jeffrey Loria says there will be no spending spree until the Marlins are in their new home, perhaps in 2011. That means Florida will likely again have the league’s lowest payroll, smallest crowds and worst starting pitching.
2007: 85-77, first place.
Manager: Lou Piniella (2nd season).
He’s Here: OF Kosuke Fukudome, RHP Jon Lieber.
He’s Outta Here: OF Jacque Jones, OF Cliff Floyd, LHP Will Ohman, C Jason Kendall, OF Craig Monroe, OF Angel Pagan, RHP Mark Prior.
Projected Lineup: 2B Ryan Theriot (.266, 3 HRs, 45 RBIs), LF Alfonso Soriano (.299, 33, 70), 1B Derrek Lee (.317, 22, 82), 3B Aramis Ramirez (.310, 26, 101), RF Kosuke Fukudome (.294, 13, 48 in Japan), 2B Mark DeRosa (.293, 10, 72), C Geovany Soto (.389, 3, 8), CF Felix Pie (.215, 2, 20).
Rotation: RH Carlos Zambrano (18-13, 3.95 ERA), LH Ted Lilly (15-8, 3.83), LH Rich Hill (11-8, 3.92), RH Ryan Dempster (2-7, 4.73, 28/31 saves), RH Jon Lieber (3-6, 4.73 with Phillies) or RH Jason Marquis (12-9, 4.60) or LH Sean Marshall (7-8, 3.92).
Key Relievers: RH Kerry Wood (1-1, 3.33), RH Carlos Marmol (5-1, 1.43), RH Bob Howry (6-7, 3.32, 8/12 saves).
Hot Spots: Center field and the bullpen. Pie, who’s competing with rookie Sam Fuld, needs to show he can get on base more than occasionally. Wood needs to stay healthy, something he hasn’t done in his career.
Stat Sheet: Theriot batted .300 last season in the leadoff spot, Soriano’s preferred position in the order.
Bottom Line: This year marks the 100th anniversary of their last championship, and the Cubs would like to celebrate by putting to rest any curses. Fukudome gives them the left-handed bat they need and a high on-base percentage, which could help set up run producers such as Lee and Ramirez if Fukudome hits near the top of the lineup.
2007: 83-79, second place.
Manager: Ned Yost (6th season).
He’s Here: RHP Eric Gagne, CF Mike Cameron, C Jason Kendall, RHP David Riske, RHP Salomon Torres, RHP Guillermo Mota, LHP Randy Choate, C Eric Munson, OF Gabe Kapler, INF Abraham Nunez.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Francisco Cordero, LF Geoff Jenkins, C Johnny Estrada, 3B Corey Koskie, LHP Ray King, RHP Scott Linebrink, RHP Matt Wise, INF Tony Graffanino, OF Kevin Mench, C Damian Miller.
Projected Lineup: 2B Rickie Weeks (.235, 16 HRs, 36 RBIs), CF Mike Cameron (.242, 21, 78), 1B Prince Fielder (.288, 50, 119), LF Ryan Braun (.324, 34, 97), RF Corey Hart (.295, 24, 81), 3B Bill Hall (.254, 14, 63), SS J.J. Hardy (.277, 26, 80), C Jason Kendall (.242, 3, 41 with A’s and Cubs).
Rotation: RH Ben Sheets (12-5, 3.84 ERA), RH Jeff Suppan (12-12, 4.62), RH Yovani Gallardo (9-5, 3.67), RH Claudio Vargas (11-6, 5.08) or RH Dave Bush (12-10, 5.12) or LH Manny Parra (10-4, 2.45 at two minor league levels).
Key Relievers: RH Eric Gagne (4-2, 3.81, 16 saves with Rangers and Red Sox), RH Derrick Turnbow (4-5, 4.63), RH Salomon Torres (2-4, 5.47 with Pirates), RH David Riske (1-4, 2.45 with Royals), RH Guillermo Mota (2-2, 5.76 with Mets), LH Brian Shouse (1-1, 3.02), RH Carlos Villanueva (8-5, 3.94).
Hot Spot: The starting lineup was all but set from the beginning of camp, but the big change is in the bullpen where Gagne takes over for All-Star closer Cordero, who bolted via free agency.
Stat Sheet: The Brewers think their defensive woes are over thanks to position switches and signings.
Bottom Line: Win now. The Brewers, who haven’t been to the postseason since 1982, first thought that last season was their time after building an 8 1/2 -game lead in late June and spending 133 days in first place only to falter down the stretch and get passed by the Cubs.
St. Louis Cardinals
2007: 78-84, third place.
Manager: Tony La Russa (13th season).
He’s Here: 3B Troy Glaus, RHP Matt Clement, SS Cesar Izturis, C Jason LaRue, OF Brian Barton, RHP Kyle Lohse, RHP Cliff Politte.
He’s Outta Here: 3B Scott Rolen, CF Jim Edmonds, SS David Eckstein, RHP Kip Wells, OF So Taguchi, C Gary Bennett, INF-OF Scott Spiezio, RHP Troy Percival, LHP Mike Maroth.
Projected Lineup: RF Skip Schumaker (.333, 2 HRs, 19 RBIs) or Brian Barton (.314, 9, 59 in Double-A), LF Chris Duncan (.259, 21, 70), 1B Albert Pujols (.327, 32, 103), 3B Troy Glaus (.262, 20, 62 with Blue Jays), CF Rick Ankiel (.285, 11, 39), C Yadier Molina (.275, 6, 40), 2B Adam Kennedy (.219, 3, 18), SS Cesar Izturis (.258, 0, 16 with Cubs and Pirates).
Rotation: RH Adam Wainwright (14-12, 3.70 ERA), RH Kyle Lohse (9-12, 4.62 with Reds and Phillies), RH Braden Looper (12-12, 4.94), RH Todd Wellemeyer (3-2, 3.11), RH Anthony Reyes (2-14, 6.04).
Key Relievers: RH Jason Isringhausen (4-0, 2.48, 32/34 saves), RH Ryan Franklin (4-4, 3.04), RH Russ Springer (8-1, 2.18), RH Brad Thompson (8-6, 4.73), LH Randy Flores (3-0, 4.25), LH Ron Villone (0-0, 4.25 with Yankees).
Hot Spot: The rotation. Signing Lohse to a one-year deal in mid-March bolstered a group minus Clement and RHP Joel Pineiro at the start of the season. LHP Mark Mulder is expected back in May and ace Chris Carpenter in July.
Stat Sheet: Kennedy is coming off the worst season of his career.
Bottom Line: This is a franchise in flux after consecutive 100-win seasons in 2004 and ’05 and a World Series championship in ’06, but one that still plans to be competitive. There’s some power in the lineup. The biggest question is whether the patchwork rotation can win enough before the big arms return.
2007: 73-89, fourth place.
Manager: Cecil Cooper (1st full season).
He’s Here: SS Miguel Tejada, RHP Jose Valverde, 2B Kaz Matsui, CF Michael Bourn, INF Geoff Blum, OF Darin Erstad, RHP Doug Brocail, RHP Geoff Geary, RHP Oscar Villarreal.
He’s Outta Here: 2B Craig Biggio, RHP Brad Lidge, SS Adam Everett, RHP Chad Qualls, RF Luke Scott, INF Chris Burke, INF Eric Bruntlett, RHP Matt Albers, LHP Troy Patton, RHP Juan Gutierrez.
Projected Lineup: CF Michael Bourn (.277, 1 HR, 6 RBIs with Phillies), 2B Kaz Matsui (.288, 4, 37 with Rockies), 1B Lance Berkman (.278, 34, 102), LF Carlos Lee (.303, 32, 119), SS Miguel Tejada (.296, 18, 81 with Orioles), RF Hunter Pence (.322, 17, 69), 3B Ty Wigginton (.278, 22, 67, 33 2Bs with Rays and Astros), C J.R. Towles (.375, 1, 12).
Rotation: RH Roy Oswalt (14-7, 3.18 ERA), LH Wandy Rodriguez (9-13, 4.58), RH Brandon Backe (3-1, 3.77), RH Shawn Chacon (5-4, 3.94 with Pirates), RH Woody Williams (8-15, 5.27) or RH Chris Sampson (7-8, 4.59).
Key Relievers: RH Jose Valverde (1-4, 2.66 with Diamondbacks), RH Doug Brocail (5-1, 3.05 with Padres), RH Geoff Geary (3-2, 4.41 with Phillies), RH Oscar Villarreal (2-2, 4.24 with Braves), RH Dave Borkowski (5-3, 5.15).
Hot Spot: Behind Oswalt, the rotation remains suspect. Backe returned from Tommy John surgery last year. Rodriguez has been inconsistent in the past, and the 41-year-old Williams was awful most of the spring.
Stat Sheet: Houston had just 65 steals last season. Matsui and Bourn combined for 50 in limited playing time.
Bottom Line: Tejada was the cornerstone of an active offseason. The Astros seem undaunted that the FBI is investigating whether he lied to House committee investigators in 2005 when he told them he never took performance enhancers and had no knowledge of other players using or talking about steroids. He didn’t miss any time at spring training and doesn’t seem distracted by his off-field issues
2007: 72-90, fifth place.
Manager: Dusty Baker (1st season).
He’s Here: RHP Francisco Cordero, RHP Josh Fogg, RHP Edinson Volquez, LHP Jeremy Affeldt, OF Corey Patterson.
He’s Outta Here: Interim manager Pete Mackanin, OF Josh Hamilton, LHP Eddie Guardado, LHP Eric Milton, RHP Kirk Saarloos, INF Mark Bellhorn, INF Jorge Cantu, OF Jason Ellison, LHP Phil Dumatrait.
Projected Lineup: CF Norris Hopper (.329, 0 HRs, 14 RBIs) or Corey Patterson (.269, 8, 45) or Ryan Freel (.245, 3, 16), 2B Brandon Phillips (.288, 30, 94), RF Ken Griffey Jr. (.277, 30, 93), LF Adam Dunn (.264, 40, 106), 3B Edwin Encarnacion (.289, 16, 76), 1B Scott Hatteberg (.310, 10, 47), SS Alex Gonzalez (.272, 16, 55) or Jeff Keppinger (.332, 5, 32), C David Ross (.203, 17, 39) or Javier Valentin (.276, 2, 34).
Rotation: RH Aaron Harang (16-6, 3.73 ERA), RH Bronson Arroyo (9-15, 4.23), RH Matt Belisle (8-9, 5.32) or RH Josh Fogg (10-9, 4.94 with Rockies) or RH Johnny Cueto (12-9, 3.07 in minors) or RH Edinson Volquez (2-1, 4.50 for Rangers).
Key Relievers: RH Francisco Cordero (0-4, 2.98, 44/51 saves with Brewers), RH David Weathers (2-6, 3.59, 33 saves), LH Jeremy Affeldt (4-3, 3.51 with Rockies), RH Jared Burton (4-2, 2.51), LH Mike Stanton (1-3, 5.93), RH Gary Majewski (0-4, 8.22).
Hot Spot: The rotation. Signing Cordero to a $46 million, four-year contract took care of the most glaring need last season. Weathers now can pitch the eighth, giving the Reds a 1-2 combination late in games that they desperately missed. Now, the question is whether they can get that deep into a game with a lead.
Stat Sheet: The Reds gave up 123 runs in the eighth inning last season, by far their worst inning.
Bottom Line: Baker’s biggest challenge will be cobbling a rotation out of a group of youngsters with little major league experience and veterans with mediocre histories. Beyond Harang and Arroyo, there’s no dependability.
2007: 68-94, sixth place.
Manager: John Russell (1st season).
He’s Here: INF Chris Gomez, LHP Phil Dumatrait, RHP Jaret Wright, RHP Byung-Hyun Kim.
He’s Outta Here: Manager Jim Tracy, INF Jose Castillo, INF Cesar Izturis, INF Matt Kata, 1B Josh Phelps, RHP Shawn Chacon, RHP Tony Armas, RHP Salomon Torres, LHP Shane Youman.
Projected Lineup: CF Nyjer Morgan (.299, 1 HR, 7 RBIs) or Nate McLouth (.258, 13 HRs, 38 RBIs), 2B Freddy Sanchez (.304, 11, 81), LF Jason Bay (.247, 21, 84), 1B Adam LaRoche (.272, 21, 88), RF Xavier Nady (.278, 20, 72), 3B Jose Bautista (.254, 15, 63), C Ronny Paulino (.263, 11, 55), SS Jack Wilson (.296, 12, 56).
Rotation: RH Ian Snell (9-12, 3.76 ERA), LH Tom Gorzelanny (14-10, 3.88), LH Paul Maholm (10-15, 5.02), RH Matt Morris (10-11, 4.89 with Giants and Pirates), LH Zach Duke (3-8, 5.53).
Key Relievers: RH Matt Capps (4-7, 2.28, 18/21 saves), LH Damaso Marte (2-0, 2.38), LH John Grabow (3-2, 4.53), RH Franquelis Osoria (0-2, 4.76), RH Byung-Hyun Kim (10-8, 6.16 with three teams).
Hot Spots: Center field and catcher. McLouth, mostly a backup for 2 1/2 seasons, is trying to hold off Morgan, who made a major impression during a late-season call-up last year. Paulino had a major falloff offensively during his second season.
Stat Sheet: If the Pirates endure another losing season, they’ll tie the 1933-48 Phillies for the major league record of 16 in a row.
Bottom Line: Despite losing 94 games last season, the Pirates might be the least-changed club in the majors, returning their lineup intact. With Bay, Wilson and Nady all on the trading block, that could change well before the end of a season.
2007: 90-72, first place.
Manager: Bob Melvin (4th season).
He’s Here: RHP Dan Haren, RHP Chad Qualls, INF Chris Burke, OF Trot Nixon.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Jose Valverde, RHP Livan Hernandez, 1B Tony Clark, OF Carlos Quentin, INF Alberto Callaspo.
Projected Lineup: CF Chris Young (.237, 32 HRs, 68 RBIs), 2B Orlando Hudson (.294, 10, 63), 1B Conor Jackson (.284, 15, 60), LF Eric Byrnes (.286, 21, 83), 3B Mark Reynolds (.279, 17, 62), C Chris Snyder (.252, 20, 47), RF Justin Upton (.221, 2, 11), SS Stephen Drew (.238, 12, 60).
Rotation: RH Brandon Webb (18-10, 3.01 ERA), LH Randy Johnson (4-3, 3.81), RH Dan Haren (15-9, 3.07 with A’s), LH Doug Davis (13-12, 4.25), RH Micah Owings (8-8, 4.30).
Key Relievers: RH Brandon Lyon (6-4, 2.68), RH Tony Pena (5-4, 3.27), RH Chad Qualls (6-5, 3.05 with Astros), LH Doug Slaten (3-2, 2.72), RH Juan Cruz (6-1, 3.10), RH Edgar Gonzalez (8-4, 5.03).
Hot Spot: The batter’s box. Arizona became the first team since the 1906 Chicago White Sox to have a league’s best record and worst batting average. The Diamondbacks won 32 one-run games, and know they can’t count on that happening again.
Stat Sheet: The Diamondbacks batted just .250 and were outscored by 20 runs.
Bottom Line: With the addition of Haren, and if Johnson stays healthy, Arizona will have one of the most formidable rotations in the game. The bullpen also looks deep. The question is the offense. Arizona has to improve its production to defend its division title.
2007: 90-73, second place, wild card, NL champions.
Manager: Clint Hurdle (7th season).
He’s Here: RHP Josh Towers, RHP Luis Vizcaino, RHP Kip Wells, OF Scott Podsednik, 2B Marcus Giles, RHP Jose Capellan.
He’s Outta Here: 2B Kaz Matsui, RHP Josh Fogg, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, RHP Rodrigo Lopez, INF Jamey Carroll, RHP Jorge Julio.
Projected Lineup: CF Willy Taveras (.320, 2 HRs, 24 RBIs), SS Troy Tulowitzki (.291, 24, 99), 1B Todd Helton (.320, 17, 91), LF Matt Holliday (.340, 36, 137), 3B Garrett Atkins (.301, 25, 111), RF Brad Hawpe (.291, 29, 116), C Yorvit Torrealba (.255, 8, 47), 2B Jayson Nix (.292, 11, 58 at Triple-A).
Rotation: LH Jeff Francis (17-9, 4.22 ERA), RH Aaron Cook (8-7, 4.12), RH Ubaldo Jimenez (4-4, 4.28), LH Franklin Morales (3-2, 3.43), LH Mark Redman (2-0, 3.20; 0-4, 11.63 with Braves) or RH Jason Hirsh (5-7, 4.81).
Key Relievers: RH Manny Corpas (4-2, 2.08, 19/22 saves), LH Brian Fuentes (3-5, 3.08, 20 saves), RH Matt Herges (5-1, 2.96), RH Luis Vizcaino (8-2, 4.30 with Yankees), RH Taylor Buchholz (6-5, 4.23), RH Ramon Ramirez (2-2, 8.31), RH Ryan Speier (3-1, 4.00), RH Jose Capellan (0-3, 5.54 with Tigers and Brewers).
Hot Spots: Second base and the back end of the rotation. Nix came into camp needing to show some pop at the plate to go with his defensive prowess to win the job. The Rockies’ fourth and fifth starters could fluctuate.
Stat Sheet: Holliday was edged out for NL MVP, and Tulowitzki finished runner-up in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.
Bottom Line: The Rockies reeled off wins in 14 of their final 15 regular-season games, including a wild-card tiebreaker against San Diego. They won seven straight to take the NL pennant, before being swept by the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.
San Diego Padres
2007: 89-74, third place.
Manager: Bud Black (2nd season).
He’s Here: CF Jim Edmonds, 2B Tadahito Iguchi, LHP Randy Wolf, RHP Mark Prior, INF Robert Fick.
He’s Outta Here: LF Milton Bradley, CF Mike Cameron, 2B Marcus Giles, INF Geoff Blum, INF Morgan Ensberg.
Projected Lineup: RF Brian Giles (.271, 13 HRs, 51 RBIs), 2B Tadahito Iguchi (.267, 9, 43 with White Sox and Phillies), 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff (.275, 18, 74), 1B Adrian Gonzalez (.282, 30, 100), CF Jim Edmonds (.252, 12, 53 with Cardinals), SS Khalil Greene (.254, 27, 97), C Michael Barrett (.244, 9, 41 with Cubs and Padres) and Josh Bard (.285, 5, 51), LF Scott Hairston (.243, 11, 36 with Diamondbacks and Padres).
Rotation: RH Jake Peavy (19-6, 2.54 ERA), RH Chris Young (9-8, 3.12), RH Greg Maddux (14-11, 4.14), LH Randy Wolf (9-6, 4.73 with Dodgers), LH Wil Ledezma (3-3, 4.39 with Tigers, Braves and Padres) or RH Justin Germano (7-10, 4.46) or LH Glendon Rusch (did not pitch last season) or LH Shawn Estes (did not pitch in majors last season).
Key Relievers: RH Trevor Hoffman (4-5, 2.98, 42/49 saves), RH Heath Bell (6-4, 2.02, 2 saves), RH Cla Meredith (5-6, 3.50), LH Joe Thatcher (2-2, 1.29), LH Kevin Cameron (2-0, 2.79), LH Justin Hampson (2-3, 2.70).
Hot Spots: Center field and left field. The Padres let Cameron leave as a free agent, then traded for Edmonds. He was limited by injuries last year with St. Louis, then strained his right calf in a spring training game with the Padres. Hairston was competing to be the starting left fielder when he got thrown into the mix in center as well.
Stat Sheet: Kouzmanoff slumped badly at the start of last season, but finished the season batting .275 with 18 homers and 74 RBIs.
Bottom Line: The Padres have one of the best pitching staffs in the major leagues, but the big question will be whether their popgun offense can keep them in contention again.
Los Angeles Dodgers
2007: 82-80, fourth place.
Manager: Joe Torre (1st season).
He’s Here: CF Andruw Jones, C Gary Bennett, RHP Hiroki Kuroda, RHP Chan Ho Park.
He’s Outta Here: OF Luis Gonzalez, C Mike Lieberthal, RHP D.J. Houlton, RHP Roberto Hernandez, RHP Chin-hui Tsao, LHP Randy Wolf, LHP Mark Hendrickson, LHP David Wells, INF Olmedo Saenz, INF Shea Hillenbrand, INF Mark Sweeney.
Projected Lineup: LF Juan Pierre (.293, 0 HRs, 41 RBIs), SS Rafael Furcal (.270, 6, 47), C Russell Martin (.293, 19, 87), CF Andruw Jones (.222, 26, 94 with Braves), 2B Jeff Kent (.302, 20, 79), 1B James Loney (.331, 15, 67), RF Matt Kemp (.342, 10, 42), 3B Nomar Garciaparra (.283, 7, 59) or Tony Abreu (.271, 2, 17).
Rotation: RH Brad Penny (16-4, 3.03 ERA), RH Derek Lowe (12-14, 3.88), RH Chad Billingsley (12-5, 3.31), RH Hiroki Kuroda (12-8, 3.56 in Japan), RH Esteban Loaiza (1-0, 1.84 with A’s; 1-4, 8.34 with Dodgers) or RH Chan Ho Park (0-1, 15.75 with Mets).
Key Relievers: RH Takashi Saito (2-1, 1.40, 39/43 saves), RH Jonathan Broxton (4-4, 2.85), LH Joe Beimel (4-2, 3.83), RH Scott Proctor (2-5, 3.82 with Yankees; 3-0, 3.38 with Dodgers), RH Rudy Seanez (6-3, 3.79).
Hot Spots: Third base and left field. Garciaparra and Andy LaRoche entered spring training in a competition for the third base job, but both were injured March 7. Pierre, in the second season of a five-year, $44 million contract, might have trouble holding off Andre Ethier.
Stat Sheet: The Dodgers tied for second in the NL with a .275 batting average last season, but were 10th with 735 runs and 15th with 129 homers.
Bottom Line: The Dodgers had the NL’s best record in mid-July last year and were still in contention until losing 11 of their last 14 games.
San Francisco Giants
2007: 71-91, fifth place.
Manager: Bruce Bochy (2nd season).
He’s Here: OF Aaron Rowand, RHP Keiichi Yabu.
He’s Outta Here: LF Barry Bonds, 3B Pedro Feliz, 1B Ryan Klesko, RHP Scott Munter, RHP Russ Ortiz.
Projected Lineup: LF Dave Roberts (.260, 2 HRs, 23 RBIs), CF Aaron Rowand (.309, 27, 89), RF Randy Winn (.300, 14, 65), C Bengie Molina (.276, 19, 81), 2B Ray Durham (.218, 11, 71), 3B Rich Aurilia (.252, 5, 33), 1B Dan Ortmeier (.287, 6, 16), SS Omar Vizquel (.246, 4, 51) or Brian Bocock (.243, 5, 57 in Class-A).
Rotation: LH Barry Zito (11-13, 4.53 ERA), RH Matt Cain (7-16, 3.65), RH Tim Lincecum (7-5, 4.00), RH Kevin Correia (4-7, 3.45), LH Jonathan Sanchez (1-5, 5.88) or LH Noah Lowry (14-8, 3.92).
Key Relievers: RH Brian Wilson (1-2, 2.28), RH Tyler Walker (2-0, 1.26), LH Jack Taschner (3-1, 5.40).
Hot Spot: Zito was a big bust in his first year of a $126 million, seven-year contract, posting his worst career ERA despite pitching in the easier NL. His struggles last year were somewhat overshadowed by Bonds’ chase of Hank Aaron’s home run record. He’ll have no such reprieve this year.
Stat Sheet: Cain gave up three earned runs or fewer in 24 of his 32 starts.
Bottom Line: The focus is now on pitching and defense, but there are already big questions in those areas. Lowry will miss the start of the season with an unusual forearm injury, Zito has struggled mightily and the bullpen is unproven.