The 2012 Major League Baseball season began in Japan yesterday with a classic duel between the star-studded Oakland A’s and the needle-moving Seattle Mariners. No one has yet to figure out why the A’s of all teams were chosen for this marketing extravaganza — Moneyball? — but much like the popularity of CBS programming, some things are better left a complete mystery.
The real season featuring teams you actually follow doesn’t begin until April 4. Why? Because confusion and a severe lack of continuity make the world go round.
Yesterday we took a peek at the NL Central. Today, it’s a sparring session with the NL West.
San Francisco Giants
2011 Record — 86-76, 2nd place
Notable Additions — Well this is somewhat deflating: Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, Ryan Theriot, and Clay Hensley? I suppose Melky is a decent pickup, but the rest of that lofty haul feels like Brian Sabaen doing his absolute best to be his customary worst. These “moves” deserve a signature Bill Walton terrrrrrrrrrrrible.
Tragic Losses — Jonathan Sanchez, Carlos Beltran, Cody Ross, Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, and Mark DeRosa. Honestly surprised they didn’t hang onto Cabrera, he fits the Giant mold rather perfectly. And yes, Pat the Bat has sadly retired, bringing 12 years of odd carousing moments with Road Beef to an unfortunate end.
Good News — They have excellent starting pitching led of course by the always dapper, Tim Lincecum. Additionally, by all accounts, they play in an obscenely awesome ballpark; one I hope to get to sooner than later. And no, I will not order garlic fries. It’s baseball: hot dog, beer, sausage and peppers, rinse, wash, repeat. Beyond that, however, I honestly can’t think of too many other positives. Which brings me to…
Bad News — The putrid offense. This is one flaccid lineup. Are the starting pitchers annoyed? They should be. Again, if your major offensive upgrades were Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan, you have not made any offensive upgrades. Brandon Belt, anyone?
Outlook — Unless they make some serious moves offensively, they’ll be right in the neighborhood of where they finished last year: 3rd place, 84 wins. Yawn.
Probable 2012 Anthem — As if you didn’t know already. This is Timmy’s team. Hits From the Bong shall be the choice ballad.
2011 Record — 94-68, 1st place
Tragic Losses — Jason Marquis, Xavier Nady, and Zach Duke. So yeah, they didn’t really lose anybody.
Good News — Joe Saunders, Trevor Cahill, Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson all pitched 200-plus innings last year and their offense is far superior to San Francisco’s. So right now I’m not able to find one reason to pick against them winning the division, so they obviously won’t win the division since I just stated there’s no reason they shouldn’t win the division. Glad we cleared that up. Most fun to watch will of course be the good Upton brother, who is coming off a monster year and is still just 24-years-old. Better wear a poncho.
Bad News — The pool in the outfield has implemented a stern “no peeing” rule. Even worse, swimmies are now mandatory.
Outlook — 92 wins, 1st place. Kirk Gibson can do no wrong.
Probable 2012 Anthem — They won 94 games last season and got zero respect. DMX’s What’s My Name should help change that.
Los Angeles Dodgers
2011 Record — 82-79, 3rd place
Notable Additions — Re-signed Juan Rivera and added Juan Uribe, Chris Capuano, and Aaron Harang? Quite the offseason pillaging exhibition from GM Ned Colletti.
Tragic Losses — Casey Blake, Jon Garland, Jonathan Broxton, Hiroki Kuroda, Mike MacDougal and Vicente Padilla.
Bad News — “Topless Tommy Lasorda Lookalike” day has already been canceled. Additionally, after Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley, the starting rotation will offer Ted Lilly, Harang, and Capuano. That’s not going to get the job done, not even in the NL West.
Outlook — With everything that went on last year, the Dodgers still managed to win 82 games. Unfortunately, they’ll still be depending on Matt Kemp and Kershaw to reenact the cover of Van Halen’s 5150. 80-82, 4th place.
Probable 2012 Anthem — “As they took his soul they stole his pride, priiiii-hide.” Oh yes, Cast No Shadow by Oasis is perfectly depressing for the state of this financially and emotionally ravaged franchise, or at least it would have been three days ago. Now I’ll have to settle for Ted DiBiase’s “Everybody’s Got a Price,” which really isn’t settling at all. ‘Tis victory.
2011 Record — 73-89, 4th place
Notable Additions — Michael Cuddyer, Ramon Hernandez, a young starter in Tyler Chatwood (22) and young reliever in Zach Putnam (24), Guillermo Moscoso, Jeremy Guthrie, Jamie freaking Moyer, Marco Scutaro, and … wait for it … Chad Tracy. In short, their starting rotation has a lot of baseball throwing enthusiasts vying for a slot. Moyer is 49 and fresh off a year of doing TV work at ESPN. The lesson here? Get your kids actively throwing baseballs at a very early age. Guaranteed contracts and minimal time at the gym. Everyone wins.
Tragic Losses — Chris Iannetta, Huston Street, Ian Stewart, and Aaron Cook. I would mention Ty Wigginton but he was traded for cash. I’ve always wondered how players feel when they get shipped out of town in exchange for money, but I suppose most of them don’t give a shit. Wigginton is in Philly now still getting paid to play baseball for a living and likely getting to know Pat the Bat’s old beef scraps.
Good News — Four words: Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki. Even better than that, no Rockie has been caught with a hooker — particularly one that looks exactly like the lead singer of an 80s metal band — since the great Denny Neagle. Feverish applause for the team-wide self-restraint.
Bad News — Rockies “first baseman” Jason Giambi is 41 years of age. Holy tits are we getting old.
Outlook — I have no feel for this team. Last time I had no feel for a team was last season when I picked the D-Backs to win 71 games. They went on to win 94. On that inspiring note, I’ll slot the Rockies in 2nd place with 88 wins.
Probable 2012 Anthem — This one’s easy. The NWO Wolfpack theme song because Giambi still uses this anthem as his at-bat music.
San Diego Padres
2011 Record — 71-91, last place
Tragic Losses — Mat Latos, Heath Bell, and Aaron Harang. Bell will be missed for his trademark candor on an otherwise identity-challenged team.
Good News — Hey, sometimes they wear camouflage uniforms.
Bad News — Padres legend Tony Gwynn was last seen accidentally suffocating a family of six with his powerful, unrelenting cleavage. Additionally and embarrassingly, after each Padres home win, they play fireworks. Amateur hour.
Outlook — 75 wins, last place. Again.
Probable 2012 Anthem — David Lee Roth’s video for California Girls was true art. Seems like a fitting choice, as there’s really nothing else that comes to mind when the San Diego Padres come up.
Previously: 2012 MLB Preview – NL Central