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Presenting the National League West
2003-11-29 13:31
by Jon Weisman

Curt Schilling's departure from Arizona to Boston has altered the landscape of the National League West. But if you're like me, with so many departures from NL West teams already having occurred, that landscape is starting to go Monet on you.

To get things back into focus, please find below a grid of what the Opening Day rosters of the NL West teams look like today. I plan to update this grid as much as possible, so that you rosterfarians always have an overview of the division.

Because these rosters are current, they include players who might not be tendered 2004 contracts. So for now, Adrian Beltre is still a Dodger.

However, the rosters do not include any free agents, even those who might be likely to sign. So for now, Wilson Alvarez is not a Dodger.

As a result, you are going to see bare patches in the grass. The Dodgers currently have Mike Kinkade as their starting first baseman and Jolbert Cabrera in left field. But they're not alone in having problems to solve. San Francisco's current starting lineup includes Pedro Feliz, Neifi Perez and Todd Linden. It's possible they could open 2004 with all three filling those positions, but I'm sure most of the Bay Area hopes not.

You will also see some debatable choices. Mostly, those come in the lower echelons of the roster, where it's a struggle to fill out the teams. But you might also question things like Phil Nevin in left field for the Padres or Darren Dreifort on the mound for the Dodgers. Neither may be in the physical condition to play those positions. Again, this is my best guess of how things would look if this were April, but please write if you think someone is in the wrong place, or I'm stretching credibility, or if I left someone out.

My first comment: The division's pitching staffs - all the way down to the 11th men - seem closer to Opening Day condition than the rest of the rosters. Barry Bonds is the only reason that this isn't a five-team race as we speak. Thrust him aside, and I think San Diego has as good a lineup as any team. As for the reserves: Luke Allen is No. 3 on the Rockies' bench. Wilkin Ruan is No. 2 on the Dodgers. From Terrence Long to Cody Ransom, it is not pretty. Everyone has work to do.

Update: Hours after I finished this, a report emerged that the Diamondbacks had traded Lyle Overbay, Junior Spivey, Chris Capuano and Craig Counsell for Richie Sexson. I will make the appropriate changes forthwith. My sense is that Arizona will enjoy Sexson, but that they may have undervalued Overbay, who had an on-base percentage of .365 in 2003.

National League West Rosters - Updated November 29, 2003

PositionArizonaColoradoLos AngelesSan DiegoSan Francisco
CBarajasJohnsonLo DucaHernandezPierzynski
LFL. GonzalezPaytonCabreraNevinBonds
PE. GonzalezBerneroColyerBynumHerges

By the way, Ross Newhan of the Times was all over how the Schilling trade would make it hard for the Dodgers to acquire Richie Sexson. You'd think he would have had at least some corresponding comment about how nice it is for the Dodgers that Schilling is out of their hair.

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