The Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers got a head start on the competition because of their March 22-23 series in Australia, while the other three teams start soon after.
We take a look at the news and rumors from around the National League West this past week:
After searching for a starting pitcher all winter, the Diamondbacks finally got one when they signed right-hander Bronson Arroyo to a two-year deal. He was rumored to be headed to them or the Dodgers, but the Diamondbacks willingness to hand out a multi-year deal got them Arroyo. The 36-year-old adds a veteran presence to their rotation, as well as one of the most durable starters of the past decade.
Off the playing field, the team also extended manager Kirk Gibson and general manager Kevin Towers past the 2014 season. Both were heading into the final year of their contracts and now both will be back past this season. Gibson led the team to an NL West title in 2011, but has yet to get them back to the postseason since then.
The Diamondbacks began camp two days before the Dodgers in their attempt to dethrone them this season.
Preparing for the spring, the Rockies were busy this week inviting players to spring training and signing a few players to minor-league deals. They signed right-handers Manny Corpas, Nick Masset and Ryan Gibbard and invited them to spring training. Corpas is the most significant of the three and should make the club.
They also signed shortstop Paul Janish to a minor-league deal with an invite to big-league camp. He spent time with the Atlanta Braves the last two seasons and will be competing for a reserve role in the infield. Along with the four mentioned, the Rockies also invited nine players to spring training for a chance to make the club.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Filling two of their needs, the Dodgers signed infielder Justin Turner to a minor-league deal and left-handed starting pitcher Paul Maholm to a one-year deal. Turner immediately joins the competition for starting second baseman and reserve infielder. He spent last season with the New York Mets and hit .280 at all four infield positions.
Joining the battle for the last spot in the Dodgers’ rotation is the left-handed Maholm. He signed with the team and will be in camp preparing to join the other four starters. Maholm will battle Josh Beckett, Zach Lee and others for the final spot, but has already declared his willingness to join the bullpen if needed.
San Diego Padres
Not much happened with the Padres this week in terms of additions; however, the team did find out that they will be without left-hander Cory Luebke due to reconstructive elbow surgery. He already missed all of last season because of a 2012 surgery and now will be out again. It isn’t known where he would have factored in the Padres’ pitching plans but he won’t be back till 2015.
Right-hander Andrew Cashner won his arbitration case this week and will earn $2.4 million next season. The 27-year-old had a breakout season in 2013, especially in the second half of the season when he continually dominated opposing teams.
San Franciso Giants
All was quiet on the Giants’ front this week, except for rumors circulating that the team is interested in Korean right-hander Suk-Min Yoon. He worked out for the Giants at UC Irvine and could gain some interest for the back of their rotation. Yoon is coming off surgery and has received interest from a few teams.
The Giants are seemingly done this off-season and will try to improve on their fourth-place finish in 2013.