National League West.

    

    The NL West has been a pathetic division this season up until the midway point, and a little beyond that.  This of course is one of the downsides to the Wild Card.  Teams that are par or subpar will have a chance because there are three divsions in each league giving a few more spots to slightly inferior teams than in the past.  And in the supposedly weaker league, that is even more stressed because the quality of the teams are even worse, or the majority of them anyway.

 

     Arizona Diamondbacks:  OPS+ 92.  ERA+ 115.  They cannot complain about the 1-2 punch that they have.  Although Webb has come down to earth, Haren has been as good as advertised.  I saw some of it myself when he dominated the Red Sox at Fenway on a nationally televised game.  But then again, Haren isn’t new to me, he is new to them.  The offense has been below average, a problem for any team.  The fact that their leadoff hitter rarely reaches base could be a small part of it.  And I realize that Chris Young has been moved down in the order, but now Stephen Drew is getting on base at only a .302 clip.  Something has to change.  I think that, maybe unfairly because he is only 20, Justin Upton has the biggest chance to get this offense going.  Upton has been average this season, and of course is only 20, but he seems like he has the most potential to take off in the second half of the year.  This team may very much need to acquire a bat at the deadline.  As for the pitching it has been very good.  ERA+ 115.  But that was expected.  Their run differential is +4 and they are 47-48.  They have been merely average.

 

     Los Angeles Dodgers:  OPS+ 86.  ERA+ 120.   Personally, I thought the Dodgers could win this division, and I picked them to do just that.  And they still have a very good shot, sitting just one game out.  But it is the quality of the team that concerns me, and I am sure their fans even more so.  They are below .500.  They do have a +10 run differential, but that doesn’t normally translate into much better than an average record anyway.  The offense here has been well below average, and the pitching well above.  From the looks of things the pitching will not be going anywhere, but what about the hitting?  I don’t see many significant internal solutions.  What’s funny is that everyone, well the sabermetrics guys anyway, wanted the young guys to start.  And they have been around average, not much more can be expected.  The vets have been bad though.  Pierre and Kent have hit well below average, while Furcal has been hurt, same for Nomar.  I agreed with this opinion of starting the youngsters by the way.  I don’t see the offense doing too much better in the 2nd half, unless I am overlooking something.  I mean really it is going to take Nomar, Kent, and Jones to start hitting.  Is that realistic? 

 

     San Francisco Giants:  OPS+ 89.  ERA+ 99.  They are far from good, but they are also far from what some expected them to be.  A -58 run differential is still pretty bad, but at least they are hanging around (7 games back) if not at least for the fans sake.  In most divisions they would be way, way back though, and the fact that they are still somewhat in it is because of the quality of, or lack of, the teams above them.  But they have some nice pitching for the future…at least. 

 

     Colorado Rockies:  OPS+ 95.  ERA+ 93.  I wrote a blog yesterday about how terrible they have been on the road with their bats sitting seemingly on their shoulders.  Julio Lugo about sums up their road numbers.  Very disappointing.  From World Series to the nicest room in the basement.  Luckily 8.5 games isn’t exactly impossible to make up.  Unlikely, yes.  But not impossible.  Losing a solid SS, even though he was struggling, didn’t exactly help the cause.  But even with him they would still be below .500 and out of first place.  A below average offense and a below average pitching staff is what they have, and that is why they are where they are. 

 

     San Diego Padres:  OPS+ 96.  ERA+ 92.  Brian Giles needs to go.  And a few other moves need to take place also.  Giles has been above average, but maybe a move to the Mets would be smart.  The Mets need a corner OF and the Padres shouldn’t expect too much in return for the 37 year old Giles.  But the Padres need to go ahead and build for 2010.  Maddux needs to go, along with Randy Wolf.  But of course the underrated Adrian Gonzalez is having a very good year, the lone star in this lineup. 

 

     To sum it up;  if either of the top two teams makes a move for an impact bat, then they should be able to take the division.  If I am the Diamondbacks, with that 1-2 punch, then I make a move.  Because come playoff time they would have an advantage, much more so if they get another player who knows how to hit.  The Dodgers on the other hand, may want to hold onto their young players, because they have the money to make a splash in free agency next year.  They could wait until the offseason, rid of some of the overpaid vets, and keep their prospects, while signing a big time hitter.  Of course, it will be difficult to move a player like Andruw Jones, so I wouldn’t mind if they made a move or a bat either.    

11 Comments

good stuff-

hard to believe the wild swings the diamondbacks have gone through in half a season- but then this seems to a season of inconsistency all through both leagues-there are good teams to be sure, but no great ones.

i have a feeling the dodgers may go on a run- maybe it’s just my faith in joe torre and his great motivational skills.

getting andruw jones and paying him 36 for two years after the season he had in 07 is a disgrace. anyone could see that his numbers have been on a STEADY decline-
they should have taken rowand. ( yes, even the long deal)

I was about to say “no thanks” regarding Giles, but it’s actually not that bad an idea. The Mets could use a righty bat more (Casey Blake, Xavier Nady), or more power if they go for a lefty (Raul Ibanez) for left, but Giles probably wouldn’t cost that much; doesn’t strike out; is good defensively; hustles; and the change might wake up his power bat. Plus he’s a got an option/buyout for next year which would preclude a long-term commitment. I haven’t heard Giles’s name with PEDs, but the rise and fall of his power numbers are a little suspicious.
http://paullebowitz.mlblogs.com/

Mike,
The upside to that Jones deal was the two year part, which is looking better than ever now. But I guess Rowand was the less likely one to enjoy his money, but I am not positive that is what Jones is doing. It just seems so, given a dramatic drop off.

Paul,
Giles still gets on base, and has a road OPS of .878, while at home it is only .783. That is because of the obvious reason…he plays in a canyon. haha. But lefty or not, he is a corner OF who is still better than average. However he may end up closing the year much closer to average than his OPS+ of 128 is. I have heard rumors from the experts that Nady will cost a lot. And giving up a lot for a player having a career year, and who was just on the Mets, may not be a great route. I am pretty sure Seattle might want a decent haul for Ibanez too. Could just sign Bonds for free. I wouldnt care too much if my team did it. He is only one player, not an entire team.

One more thing on Bonds. He is going to be a defensive liability. So does the potential that he could get on base ten times in an NLDS outweigh the possibility of a game changing defensive miscue?

http://statisticianmagician.mlblogs.com/

The botched Willie Randolph firing is only just now fading into people’s memories, the last thing they need to do now is start another fire by bringing in Barry Bonds, although I wouldn’t have a problem with him as a player or his churlish personality, it’s just a bad idea because too many things can go wrong just as they’re getting their ship in order. The guy I want is Casey Blake and Mark Shapiro’s a reasonable guy, so he wouldn’t cost a fortune as an impending free agent and Blake’s also a guy the Mets might want to keep if he plays well.

joe, it’s just hard for me to see jones’ two year deal as having any kind of upside at the cost of 18 million per. every facet of his game has been declining steadily —for years—- a one year deal is all i would have made-if that proved impossible, then i would have passed-
and then the way he showed up to camp fatter and in worse shape than ever. hardly the best way to make a good impression on your new team.
frankly i can’t stand the guy and would never have wanted to see him on a team i care about.

What I meant was the upside was the two year part because short term contracts carry less risk. I thought two years was a great deal for the team, because I thought for sure some team would be willing to swoop in sign him for 4 years or so. And although I wasn’t completely sure he would bounce back, he only had one down year. But that decline was much more rapid than most go through. So this almost has to be Jones not trying anymore, or a PED related issue. Eighteen million is a lot, but the Dodgers have a lot of money, and Jones will be hanging around no longer than 2009. I remember in the o3′ NLDS against the Cubs when they were down like 3 runs in the ninth of the final game, and he was just swinging to get the game over with it seemed. It didn’t look like he was trying at all. That has always stuck with me.

yes his really bad year was indeed 2007, but i believe i am correct in making the statement that his decline had begun several years before and only intensified last year. i also read an article EARLY last season warning about his D which had been on decline as well.
i don’t think any team was going to give him a 4 year deal joe.

According to the John Dewan plus/minus sytem last season he was second to only Beltran defensively (CF) in all of baseball. And from 2005-2007 he was first among all CF’s. I think that Jayson Stark was the one that said his defense was in decline, but he wasn’t looking at the right stats, he was just looking at putots or something if I recall.

thanks for that joe—service with a smile, and info one can count on.

anyway – i still dont like jones-if for no other reason that this-he got 36 mill and a 2 year deal from the foolish dodgers and from what i’ve read he was pretty much hoping for a one year deal so as to prove himself by have a great year and then signing the monster contract. well didnt he just show up to meet mr joe torre horrendously fat and out of shape. first impressions joe…

and then of course he continued and broadened his utter futility at the plate.

oh BTW send JD Drew my thanks for the other night at the All Star Game. i fell asleep in the 85th inning but i did wake up to catch the last frame of the 157th.

I don’t like him either, to be clear on that. haha

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