NL West


Last season: 93-69, 1st in NL West

Manager: Jim Tracy, 5th season with Dodgers (356-292)

Additions: C Paul Bako, OF J.D. Drew, 2B Jeff Kent, OF Ricky Ledee, SP Derek Lowe, C Dioner Navarro, C/1B Jason Phillips, IF Jose Valentin

Subtractions: 3B Adrian Beltre, IF Alex Cora, OF Steve Finley, OF Shawn Green, IF Jose Hernandez, SP Kaz Ishii, SP Jose Lima, SP Hideo Nomo, RP Scott Stewart, 1B/3B Robin Ventura

Outlook: If not for a tattered starting staff, the Dodgers would be a logical pick to repeat as division champs. Former Marlin Brad Penny and Odalis Perez are not healthy, but Lowe (72-59 career record) will certainly help. The lineup is bolstered by Drew and Kent (combined 58 HRs, 200 RBI).


Last season: 91-71, 2nd in NL West

Manager: Felipe Alou, 3rd season with Giants (191-132); Career: 13th season (882-849)

Additions: OF Moises Alou, RP Armando Benitez, RP Jeff Fassero, C Mike Matheny, SS Omar Vizquel

Subtractions: RP Dave Burba, RP Dustin Hermanson, OF Ricky Ledee, OF Dustan Mohr, RP Robb Nen, C A.J. Pierzynski, SS Cody Ransom

Outlook: The retirement home team of the division certainly got older, but did the Giants get better? Barry Bonds is expected to miss the start of the season after recovering from another knee operation. The youngest starter is a fragile 31-year-old Edgardo Alfonzo (11 HRs, 77 RBI in ‘04). The Giants will need more than Jason Schmidt (18-7, 3.20 ERA) on the mound.


Last season: 87-75, 3rd in NL West

Manager: Bruce Bochy, 11th season with Padres (781-821)

Additions: IF Geoff Blum, RP Chris Hammond, SP Darrell May, OF Dave Roberts, RP Dennys Reyes, RP Rudy Seanez, OF Mark Sweeney, SP Woody Williams, OF Eric Young

Subtractions: SP Andy Ashby, SS Rich Aurilia, 1B/OF Robert Fick, SS Alex S. Gonzalez, IF Dave Hansen, OF Terrence Long, RP Antonio Osuna, OF Jay Payton, SP Dennis Tankersley, IF Ramon Vazquez, SP David Wells

Outlook: Their top two starters – Jake Peavy (15-6, 2.27 ERA) and Woody Williams (11-8 with the Cardinals) – and offense – notably Phil Nevin and Brian Giles (combined 49 HRs, 199 RBI) – could make the Padres a playoff contender.


Last season: 68-94, 4th in NL West

Manager: Clint Hurdle, 4th season with Rockies (209-255)

Additions: IF Alfredo Amezaga, OF Dustan Mohr, 3B/OF Greg Norton, IF Desi Relaford, RP Aaron Taylor

Subtractions: OF Jeromy Burnitz, 3B Vinny Castilla, SS Royce Clayton, SP Shawn Estes, RP Tim Harikkala, C Charles Johnson, SP Denny Neagle, RP Steve Reed, OF Mark Sweeney

Outlook: Until their young pitchers develop – Jason Jennings was 16-8 in 2002 but two games under .500 the past two seasons – the Rockies will not be a threat. They will have to outslug every team in order to have a chance in the NL West. Todd Helton (career averages of .339, 35 HRs and 118 RBI per season) and Preston Wilson (36 HRs, 141 RBI in ‘03) will have to do their parts.


Last season: 51-111, 5th in NL West

Manager: Bob Melvin, 1st season with D-Backs; Career: 3rd season (156-168)

Additions: 1B Tony Clark, SS Royce Clayton, IF Craig Counsell, OF Jose Cruz, SP Shawn Estes, 3B Troy Glaus, OF Shawn Green, SP Brad Halsey, SP Russ Ortiz, SP Javier Vazquez

Subtractions: IF Carlos Baerga, OF Danny Bautista, RP Mike Fetters, SP Randy Johnson, SP Shane Reynolds, 1B Richie Sexson, SP Steve Sparks

Outlook: Vazquez (78-78 career record) should thrive back in the National League, but Ortiz can frustrate with the numerous walks he yields. Glaus (18 HRs in 58 games last year) and Green (average of just 23.5 homers the past two seasons) – and the return of Luis Gonzalez (career-low 105 games in ‘04) – should help the lineup.



Last season: 105-57, 1st in NL Central

Manager: Tony La Russa, 10th season with Cardinals (794-663); Career: 27th season (2,114-1,846)

Additions: C Einar Diaz, SS David Eckstein, 2B Mark Grudzielanek, SP Mark Mulder, RP Mike Myers

Subtractions: 2B Marlon Anderson, RP Kiko Calero, SP Danny Haren, RP Steve Kline, C Mike Matheny, SS Edgar Renteria, SP Woody Williams, 2B Tony Womack

Outlook: The class of the division and quite possibly the National League. The defending NL champs reloaded by acquiring Mark Mulder (17-8, 4.43 ERA last season) from the A’s and get a full season from Larry Walker (batted .298 with 47 RBI in 82 games after trade from Colorado) in their potent lineup. Only injuries to an injury-prone starting rotation can stop them.


Last season: 92-70, 2nd in NL Central

Manager: Phil Garner, 2nd season with Astros (48-26); Career: 13th season (756-828)

Addition: RP John Franco

Subtractions: OF Carlos Beltran, 2B Jeff Kent, RP Dan Miceli, SP Wade Miller, RP Darren Oliver

Outlook: If the Astros had re-signed Beltran and/or Kent, they could contend for the division title. Instead, Houston’s stellar starting pitching staff – seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens (18-4), Roy Oswalt (20-10) and Andy Pettitte have been front-line starters, and Brandon Backe had three solid postseason outings – will have to dominate nearly every game. The lineup’s best hitter – Lance Berkman (.316, 30 HRs, 106 RBI) – might be out until the All-Star break because of a knee injury.


Last season’s record: 89-73, 3rd in NL Central

Manager: Dusty Baker, 3rd season with Cubs (177-147); Career: 13th season (1,017-862)

Additions: C Henry Blanco, OF Jeromy Burnitz, 2B Jerry Hairston Jr.

Subtractions: OF Moises Alou, C Paul Bako, SP Matt Clement, RP Kyle Farnsworth, OF Tom Goodwin, OF Ben Grieve, 2B Mark Grudzielanek, IF Ramon Martinez, RP Kent Mercker, OF Sammy Sosa

Outlook: Heading into the season, starting pitchers Kerry Wood (shoulder) and Mark Prior (elbow) are ailing. If both bounce back quickly, the Cubs could make a run at the Cardinals for the division. Jeromy Burnitz (.283, 37 HRs, 220 RBI with Colorado) must have a monster season to offset the loss of Moises Alou (.293, 39, 106) and Sammy Sosa (.253, 39, 80).


Last season: 76-86, 4th in NL Central

Manager: Dave Miley, 3rd season with Reds (98-121)

Additions: SS Rich Aurilia, RP Kent Mercker, SP Eric Milton, SP Ramon Ortiz, 3B Joe Randa, RP David Weathers, RP Ben Weber

Subtractions: IF Juan Castro, SS Barry Larkin, RP John Riedling, OF John Vander Wal

Outlook: Once again, the lineup will put up gaudy numbers in their tiny home park, as Sean Casey (.324, 24 HRs, 99 RBI) and Adam Dunn (46 HRs, 102 RBI) did a year ago. Ken Griffey Jr. and Austin Kearns, both of whom missed most of last season, would improve the batting order if healthy. They also will help the pitchers. A staff anchored by Paul Wilson (11-6, 4.36 ERA) and Eric Milton (14-6, 4.75) does not exactly intimidate.


Last season: 72-89, 5th in NL Central

Manager: Lloyd McClendon, 5th season with Pirates (281-365)

Additions: OF Matt Lawton, SP Mark Redman, C Benito Santiago

Subtractions: RP Brian Boehringer, OF J.J. Davis, RP Nelson Figueroa, C Jason Kendall, IF Abraham Nunez, RP Arthur Rhodes

Outlook: The Pirates’ young lineup – including NL Rookie of the Year Jason Bay (.282, 26 HRs, 82 RBI), Jack Wilson (.308, 11, 59) and Craig Wilson (29 homers, 82 RBI) – can be potent. Ace lefty Oliver Perez (12-10, 2.98 ERA) has encountered some arm trouble this spring, but he can dominate when in top form. The rest of the staff, including former UF standout Josh Fogg (11-10, 4.64 ERA), needs to follow in his footsteps.


Last season: 67-94, 6th in NL Central

Manager: Ned Yost, 3rd season with Brewers (135-188)

Additions: RP Ricky Bottalico, RP Jose Capellan, OF Carlos Lee, RP Justin Lehr, C Damian Miller, RP Derrick Turnbow

Subtractions: C Gary Bennett, IF Craig Counsell, IF Keith Ginter, RP Dan Kolb, OF Scott Podsednik, RP Luis Vizcaino

Outlook: Ben Sheets (12-14, 2.70 ERA) is coming off back surgery, and the Brewers’ hopes rest on the right-hander. The remainder of the rotation – Chris Capuano and Gary Glover have 24 combined career victories – is terribly unproven. Lee (31 HRs, 99 RBI with the White Sox) and Geoff Jenkins (27 HRs, 93 RBI) give Milwaukee pop in the middle of its lineup, but probably not enough.



Last season: 96-66, 1st in NL East

Manager: Bobby Cox, 20th season with Braves (1,647-1,239); Career: 24th season (2,002-1,531)

Additions: SP Tim Hudson, OF Brian Jordan, RP Dan Kolb, OF Raul Mondesi, RP Gabe White

Subtractions: RP Antonio Alfonseca, SP Paul Byrd, RP Juan Cruz, OF J.D. Drew, OF Eli Marrero, SP Dan Meyer, SP Russ Ortiz, OF Charles Thomas, SP Jaret Wright

Outlook: A 14th consecutive division crown will hinge on how much mileage the Braves can get from veteran outfielders Brian Jordan and Raul Mondesi. John Smoltz’s (2.76 ERA, 85 Ks in 81-2/3 innings as a reliever in ’04) return to the rotation will help, if his elbow holds up. The pieces are in place for another division title, if not another postseason appearance.


Last season: 86-76, 2nd in NL East

Manager: Charlie Manuel, 1st season with Phillies; Career: 4th season (220-190)

Additions: RP Aaron Fultz, SP Jon Lieber, RP Pedro Liriano, OF Kenny Lofton

Subtractions: OF Doug Glanville, IF Chris Gomez, RP Roberto Hernandez, RP Todd Jones, SP Kevin Millwood, SP Eric Milton, RP Felix Rodriguez

Outlook: Jon Lieber (14-8, 4.33 ERA with Yankees last season) is a decent pitcher, but when he is your ace and you play in a cozy park, your pitching is in trouble. With 81 games at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies will score plenty, but their mediocre pitchers will surrender plenty. The Phillies’ best pitcher is closer Billy Wagner, but the rotation will have problems getting him the ball.


Last season: 83-79, 3rd in NL East.

Manager: Jack McKeon, 3rd season with Marlins (158-128); Career: 15th season (928-861).

Additions: 1B Carlos Delgado, SP Al Leiter, RP Antonio Alfonseca, RP Todd Jones, RP John Riedling and RP Jim Mecir.

Subtractions: SP Carl Pavano, RP Armando Benitez, C Mike Redmond, IF Mike Mordecai, RP Rudy Seanez, RP Josias Manzanillo, RP Billy Koch, 1B Wil Cordero.

Outlook: On paper, the Marlins have the most complete team in the division. Guillermo Mota as the first-year closer is the lone doubt. Should young starting pitchers A.J. Burnett and Josh Beckett, as well as veteran Al Leiter come through, Florida finally might prevent Atlanta from a 14th consecutive division title.


Last season: 71-91, 4th in NL East

Manager: Willie Randolph, 1st season with Mets

Additions: 2B Marlon Anderson, OF Carlos Beltran, IF Miguel Cairo, OF Ron Calloway, RP Felix Heredia, SP Kaz Ishii, SP Pedro Martinez, 1B Doug Mientkiewicz, SS Chris Woodward, C Tom Wilson

Subtractions: RP Ricky Bottalico, RP John Franco, OF Richard Hidalgo, SP Al Leiter, C/1B Jason Phillips, RP Mike Stanton, C Vance Wilson, 1B/3B Todd Zeile

Outlook: One might like to say the Mets will challenge for the division title, but remember, these are the Mets. Martinez’s addition improves the pitching. Beltran’s productive bat will boost the offense. It’s just a matter of whether new manager Willie Randolph’s team can put it all together.


Last season: 67-95, 5th in NL East

Manager: Frank Robinson, 4th season with Nationals (233-253); Career: 15th season (913-1,004)

Additions: C Gary Bennett, 3B Vinny Castilla, 1B/OF Wil Cordero, OF J.J. Davis, OF Jose Guillen, SS Cristian Guzman, SP Esteban Loaiza, RP Antonio Osuna

Subtractions: 3B Tony Batista, C Einar Diaz

Outlook: The Nationals will get an emotional charge playing in D.C., but it won’t be enough to carry them through the season. The lineup improved by adding Guillen (27 HRs, 104 RBI) and Castilla (35, 131), but there are too many holes on the mound. Workhorse Livan Herandez (9 complete games, 255 innings pitched) and Esteban Loaiza (21-9 in 2003) have been good, but rarely great. And, their best years may be behind them.




Last season: 92-70, 1st in AL West

Manager: Mike Scioscia, 6th season with Angels (425-385)

Additions: SP Paul Byrd, SS Orlando Cabrera, OF Steve Finley, OF Juan Rivera, RP Esteban Yan

Subtractions: IF Alfredo Amezaga, SS David Eckstein, 3B Troy Glaus, OF Jose Guillen, SP Ramon Ortiz, RP Troy Percival, SP Aaron Sele, RP Ben Weber

Outlook: The only question preventing the Angels from being among the Red Sox and Yankees as AL favorites is the starting pitching. Ace Bartolo Colon (18-12, 208-1/3 innings pitched) is once again experiencing a creaky back, and the rest of the rotation is not that impressive. Their lineup will score plenty of runs, but effective starting pitching will determine the Angels’ playoff chances.


Last season: 91-71, 2nd in AL West

Manager: Ken Macha, 3rd season with A’s (187-137)

Additions: RP Kiko Calero, RP Juan Cruz, IF Keith Ginter, SP Danny Haren, RP Tim Harikkala, C Jason Kendall, SP Dan Meyer, OF Charles Thomas

Subtractions: OF Jermaine Dye, RP Chris Hammond, SP Tim Hudson, RP Justin Lehr, UT Mark McLemore, RP Jim Mecir, C Damian Miller, SP Mark Mulder, SP Mark Redman, RP Arthur Rhodes

Outlook: The A’s fortunes depend on how quickly the talented but inexperienced pitchers replacing Hudson and Mulder develop. Incumbent ace Barry Zito needs to bounce back from an 11-11 season. With the exception of Eric Chavez, the lineup won’t scare opposing starting pitchers.


Last season: 89-73, 3rd in AL West

Manager: Buck Showalter, 3rd season with Rangers (160-164); Career: 10th season (723-668)

Additions: C Sandy Alomar, SP Pedro Astacio, OF Richard Hidalgo

Subtractions: OF Brian Jordan, SP Colby Lewis, RP Jeff Nelson, IF Herbert Perry, RP Jay Powell, OF Eric Young

Outlook: Like the Angels, the Rangers are loaded with big bats – their young infielders (3B Hank Blalock, 2B Alfonso Soriano, 1B Mark Teixeira and SS Michael Young) averaged 32.5 home runs and 103 RBI each in ‘04. The pitching staff is suspect. However, Texas’ starting rotation might be better than the Angels. Don’t be surprised if the Rangers, in playoff contention until the final week last season, finish atop the AL West.


Last season: 63-99, 4th in AL West

Manager: Mike Hargrove, 1st season with Marines; Career: 14th season (996-963)

Additions: 3B Adrian Beltre, SS Pokey Reese, 1B Richie Sexson

Subtractions: IF Hiram Bocachica, DH Edgar Martinez, RP Aaron Taylor, RP Randy Williams

Outlook: They probably will score more runs with Sexson and Beltre (48 HR, 121 RBI in ’04) batting third and fourth. Sexson averaged nearly 40 homers and 117 RBI from 2001 through ’03. But the pitching is a mess. Ancient Mariner Jamie Moyer, 42, heads an injury-prone staff. Seattle is still waiting for Joel Pineiro (30 combined victories in 2002 and ’03) to become the ace, but the 26-year-old had trouble staying healthy last year (just 21 starts).



Last season’s record: 92-70, 1st in AL Central

Manager: Ron Gardenhire, 4th season with Twins (276-209)

Additions: IF Juan Castro, 3B Eric Munson, C Mike Redmond

Subtractions: C Henry Blanco, RP Aaron Fultz, SS Cristian Guzman, 3B Corey Koskie, IF Jose Offerman

Outlook: The Twins are slowly becoming the Braves of the American League. Each year they seem to lose a key cog and still find ways to finish atop the division. They will be trying to replace the left side of their infield (Guzman and Koskie) this season. Minnesota will do it with former No. 1 pick Michael Cuddyer at third and Castro. AL Cy Young winner Johan Santana (20-6, 2.61 ERA) and closer Joe Nathan (44 saves in 47 chances) make the Twins the pick to win the AL Central – again.


Last season: 83-79, 2nd in AL Central

Manager: Ozzie Guillen, 2nd season with Sox (83-79)

Additions: OF Jermaine Dye, RP Dustin Hermanson, SP Orlando Hernandez, C A.J. Pierzynski, OF Scott Podsednik, RP Luis Vizcaino

Subtractions: 2B Roberto Alomar, C Sandy Alomar, OF Carlos Lee, OF Magglio Ordonez, SP Dan Wright

Outlook: Losing the big bats of Ordonez and Lee will hurt, because Dye (no more than 24 HRs and 86 RBI any of the past three seasons) is a downgrade, and Frank Thomas always seems to be aching. Depending on which Freddy Garcia (25-25 combined the past two seasons) shows up, the White Sox could be headed for the bottom of the division. Hernandez and Jose Contreras are not improvements.


Last season: 80-82, 3rd in AL Central

Manager: Eric Wedge, 3rd season with Indians (148-176)

Additions: IF Alex Cora, IF Jose Hernandez, SP Kevin Millwood, RP Arthur Rhodes

Subtractions: OF Matt Lawton, IF John McDonald, 1B Josh Phelps, SS Omar Vizquel, RP Rick White

Outlook: Surpassing the White Sox for second in the division will happen for the Indians if they get a healthy season from Millwood (at least 10 victories in past five complete seasons). Left-hander Cliff Lee (14-8 in ’04) is ready to emerge as the Indians’ next ace. The lineup is stocked with power – Travis Hafner had 28 homers and 109 RBI last year – and Bob Wickman (86.3 save percentage since the start of the 1999 season) closing games also should help.


Last season: 72-90, 4th in AL Central

Manager: Alan Trammell, 3rd season with Tigers (115-209)

Additions: RP Kyle Farnsworth, IF Ramon Martinez, OF Magglio Ordonez, RP Troy Percival, C Vance Wilson, OF DeWayne Wise

Subtractions: RP Alan Levine, RP Esteban Yan

Outlook: There’s better starting pitching in Motown than in Chicago’s South Side, so don’t be surprised to see the Tigers finish in the top three in the division. Jeremy Bonderman (11-13, 4.89 ERA in 2004) is a future Cy Young candidate, and new closer Troy Percival (33 saves in 38 chances last year) still has some gas in his fastball. Ordonez (29 or more HRs from 1999 through 2003) is another potent bat behind Ivan Rodriguez.


Last season: 58-104, 5th in AL Central

Manager: Tony Pena, 4th season with Royals (190-260)

Additions: SP Jose Lima, OF Terrence Long, OF Eli Marrero, SP Dennis Tankersley

Subtractions: SP Darrell May, IF Desi Relaford, C Benito Santiago

Outlook: Kansas City has a handful of promising hitters: Unheralded infielders Angel Berroa (.413), Mark Teahan (.375) and Ruben Gotay (.344) have had strong showings during spring training. But outside Zack Greinke, a dearth of good young pitching – retreads Jose Lima (13-5 with the Dodgers last year) and Brian Anderson (81-81 career record) are the most proven among the team’s staff – will not help the Royals escape the bottom of the AL Central.



Last season: 101-61, 1st in AL East

Manager: Joe Torre, 10th season with Yankees (887-567); Career: 24th season (1,781-1,570)

Additions: SP Randy Johnson, 1B Tino Martinez, SP Carl Pavano, RP Felix Rodriguez, RP Mike Stanton, UT Tony Womack, SP Jaret Wright

Subtractions: IF Miguel Cairo, 1B Tony Clark, RP Felix Heredia, SP Orlando Hernandez, SP Jon Lieber, SP Esteban Loaiza, OF Kenny Lofton, 1B John Olerud, SP Javier Vazquez, IF Enrique Wilson

Outlook: The Yankees added five-time Cy Young winner Johnson (16-14, 2.60 ERA in Arizona), the blossoming Pavano (18-8 with the Marlins) and Wright (15-8, 3.28 ERA with the Braves). Johnson and Pavano have already jumped to the top of the rotation.


Last season: 98-64, 2nd in AL East; World Champions

Manager: Terry Francona, 2nd season with Sox (98-64); Career: 6th season (383-427)

Additions: SP Matt Clement, RP John Halama, RP Matt Mantei, SP Wade Miller, OF Jay Payton, SS Edgar Renteria, IF Ramon Vazquez, SP David Wells

Subtractions: SS Orlando Cabrera, OF Gabe Kapler, RP Curt Leskanic, SP Derek Lowe, SP Pedro Martinez, RP Mike Myers, SS Pokey Reese, OF Dave Roberts

Outlook: The lineup is just fine, but there are questions with the starting pitching this season, especially with the departure of Martinez and Lowe. If Wells (122-61 since the start of the 1997 season), Clement (14-12 in ’03) and Miller (31-12 in 2001-02) pitch to their potential, the Red Sox could be poised for a repeat.


Last season: 78-84, 3rd in AL East

Manager: Lee Mazzilli, 2nd season with Orioles (78-84)

Additions: IF Chris Gomez, RP Steve Kline, RP Steve Reed, OF Sammy Sosa

Subtractions: RP Buddy Groom, 2B Jerry Hairston Jr., 1B David Segui

Outlook: Scoring runs shouldn’t be a problem for the Orioles, not with Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Melvin Mora (.304, 27 HRs, 104 RBI). And Miguel Tejada batted .311 with 34 HRs and 150 RBI in ’04 – his first with the Orioles. They have some promising young arms on the mound. In order to contend for the wild card, they will have to develop quickly. Until Baltimore’s pitching is on the level of the Red Sox and Yankees, third place will be the best the Orioles can expect.


Last year: 70-91, 4th in AL East

Manager: Lou Piniella, 3rd season with Rays (133-190); Career: 19th season (1,452-1,325)

Additions: 2B Roberto Alomar, OF Danny Bautista, C Kevin Cash, SP Casey Fossum, 3B Alex S. Gonzalez, 1B Travis Lee, 1B Josh Phelps

Subtractions: IF Geoff Blum, C Brook Fordyce, RP John Halama, 1B Tino Martinez, 3B Damian Rolls, SS Rey Sanchez

Outlook: A mediocre farm system of pitchers – and the level of competition in the AL East – will keep the Devil Rays resigned to the bottom half of the division. Tampa Bay is producing some quality hitters, though, in All-Star Carl Crawford (.296, 19 triples, 59 steals), Rocco Baldelli (16 HRs, 74 RBI) and Aubrey Huff (29 HRs, 104 RBI).


Last season: 67-94, 5th in AL East

Manager: John Gibbons, 2nd season with Jays (23-30)

Additions: RP Chad Gaudin, 1B/3B Shea Hillenbrand, 3B Corey Koskie, 2B John McDonald, SP Scott Schoeneweis

Subtractions: INF Dave Berg, C Kevin Cash, 1B/OF Howie Clark, 1B Carlos Delgado, INF Chris Gomez, SP Pat Hentgen, SS Chris Woodward

Outlook: Where is the blueprint for this team? The Blue Jays can’t seem to hold on to their best hitters – namely Delgado – and there are no quality relievers. At least they still have 2003 AL Cy Young winner Roy Halladay (49 victories the past three seasons) and Ted Lilly (12-10 in ’04) in the starting rotation. Another cellar-dwelling season for Canada’s remaining tea

(c) 2005, The Miami Herald. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.