Out of Left Field 2013 predictions — NL West
2. Dodgers — Sure, the Dodgers spent enough dough to be everyone’s odds-on favorites, and they should be huge factors. Adding FA starters Zack Greinke and Korean Hyun-Jin Ryu behind Clayton Kershaw in the offseason, after taking on seemingly half of Boston’s payroll at last year’s trade deadline to get the Adrian Gonzalez-Carl Crawford package. Still, the monumental expectations seem like a lot for a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in four seasons.
3. Diamondbacks — With all the comings in a very busy offseason, there seemed to be one constant in the D’backs’ outfield: Adam Eaton, one of the grinders perfect to play for Kirk Gibson, was a lock to start the season as a Rookie of the Year candidate. That was before he was shelved for two months by a sprained elbow. Still, the team has been remade in Gibby’s image, trading glitz for grit. Whether or not that — along with a good rotation and bullpen — will get Arizona past either SF or LA in the star-powered NL West remains to be seen.
4. Padres — The Padres didn’t make a whole lot of changes to a roster that was among the youngest in baseball a year ago, continuing their long rebuild. Seems like Gold Glover and Silver Slugging 3B Chase Headley (who’ll start the season on the DL) is constantly in trade rumors, but if the Padres hold onto him, they have a pretty decent block to build around.
5. Rockies — Do the names Jhoulys Chacin, Juan Nicasio, Jorge De La Rosa, Jeff Francis , Tyler Chatwood or Drew Pomeranz ring a bell? Nope? Those will be the guys that first-year manager Walt Weiss will be depending upon to fix last year’s ghastly 5.81 starter ERA for the Rockies. How those guys do matters as much or more than how guys like Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez do with the bat.