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November 7, 2013

One Move

National League West

by Craig Goldstein


My colleague Ben Carsley introduced this series to you yesterday, with the moves he’d make for the AL East franchises, so today I give you what I’d do if given the chance to make one move for each NL West club. It’s a thought exercise, and isn’t limited to on-field transactions. It can be signing a player, making a trade (that’s feasible, we hope), or something more over-arching in regards to a club’s organizational tendencies.

We’re both well aware that we’ll likely get pilloried in the comments. In fact you probably hammered Ben pretty hard yesterday, but you wouldn’t play me like that would you? No matter, let us know what you think of our ideas in the comments or what ideas you have yourself, and remember, it’s supposed to be reasonable but in the end this was all about having some fun.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Stop Tinkering
They weren’t a great team last year, so not doing much of anything doesn’t seem to be a great solution. That said, they have a lot of good pieces, if they’d just let them play. They ran Justin Upton out of town and would have managed not to find time for Gerardo Parra had Adam Eaton not been injured early. They have a plethora of pitchers, yet seem intent on finding other, more expensive options for their rotation (I’m looking at you Jeff Samardzija). With Matt Davidson arriving at 3B and Didi Gregorius/Chris Owings at shortstop, along with frontline pitching prospect Archie Bradley looming, Arizona should be content to let its team find some cohesion and develop from within.

Arizona will continue to get mocked thanks to the grit-based culture they’re trying to instill. But the bottom line is that they carry talent at most every position and have enough flexibility (thanks to Martin Prado) to play matchups and bring their young talent along slowly. They want grit but perhaps consistency from one offseason to the next will help just as much.

Colorado Rockies: Sign Ubaldo Jimenez
It’s tempting to have them sell on Troy Tulowitzki and/or Carlos Gonzalez, but the nucleus of their team isn’t so bad if those players are healthy, and given their health issues and large contracts, you’re not necessarily getting the best value by moving them now. The Rockies top pick is protected (eighth overall), so they don’t lose a first rounder for signing Jimenez, and his power arsenal is the type that shouldn’t degrade too much at high altitude. It’s not going to make them the best team in the division, but there isn’t one move that will.

More than anything though, Colorado needs pitching. This is nothing new for the Rockies of course, but they intentionally started Roy Oswalt for heaven’s sake. On top of their desperate need for a starting pitcher, Colorado would be getting something it’s intimately familiar with, something not often found in free agency. Add to that Jimenez’s impressive turnaround in Cleveland last season, including 100 strikeouts against 27 walks in 84 innings pitched, combined with prior success in Colorado’s thin air, and it could make some sense. Obviously we can’t (confidently) predict the dollar figures that Jimenez will command, so it would have to make fiscal sense, but from an on-field standpoint this is a move that benefits the Rockies.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Hire Manny Acta... as bench coach
For better or worse it seems that manager Don Mattingly has signed on for at least one more year of Dodger baseball. He comes with his own set of strengths and weaknesses, and while the chorus of those wanting him gone grew ever louder following what some saw as a premature playoff exit, he’s not easily replaced. The team respects him, and he did well to manage a clubhouse full of varied and occasionally difficult personalities. With that in mind, and Acta’s previous failures as a head coach, despite what most deem to be impressive baseball acumen and a willingness to accept and work with advanced statistics, perhaps a bench coach position benefits all parties involved. If rumors are to be believed, former bench coach Trey Hillman had a lot of influence on many of the questionable decisions that Mattingly made. Now, Hillman might be a fall guy in this scenario, but ownership’s decision to retain everyone on the coaching staff except for Hillman gives us some insight into where they believe the problem resides.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (11/07)
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One Move: American Lea... (11/06)
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Premium Article Minor League Update: A... (11/08)

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