2013 Cactus League capsules

2013-02-17T00:00:00Z 2013 Cactus League capsulesThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 17, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Arizona Diamondbacks

• Manager: Kirk Gibson (third season)

• 2012: 81-81, third place in NL West

• Training town: Scottsdale

• Park: Salt River Fields

• He's here: RHP Brandon McCarthy, 3B Martin Prado, OF Cody Ross, RHP Heath Bell, SS Cliff Pennington, 3B-1B Eric Chavez, 1B-OF Eric Hinske, LHP Tony Sipp, RHP Randall Delgado, SS Didi Gregorius, LHP Matt Reynolds

• He's outta here: RF Justin Upton, CF Chris Young, 3B Chris Johnson, RHP Trevor Bauer, RHP Bryan Shaw

• Going campin': General manager Kevin Towers lived up to his reputation as a wheeler-dealer this winter, pulling the trigger on several intriguing deals. Most notably, he sent Upton and Johnson to Atlanta for five players, a group led by the versatile Prado, a former All-Star who is penciled in as the everyday third baseman. Shortstop remains a question mark. The young Gregorius, acquired from Cincinnati in a three-team trade that sent Bauer to Cleveland, is considered spectacular in the field but uncertain at the plate. He is trying to make the club in competition with Pennington, Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald. The first four spots in the rotation appear set with Ian Kennedy, McCarthy, Wade Miley and Trevor Cahill. Speedy outfielder Adam Eaton, whose right hand was broken when he was hit by a pitch late last season, is in line to play center and bat leadoff unless he flops in spring training.

Chicago Cubs

• Manager: Dale Sveum (second season)

• 2012: 61-101, fifth place in the NL Central

• Training town: Mesa

• Park: HoHoKam Stadium

• He's here: RHP Edwin Jackson, RHP Scott Baker, RHP Scott Feldman, RHP Carlos Villanueva, RHP Kyuji Fujikawa, C Dioner Navarro, OF Nate Schierholtz

• He's outta here: 1B-RF Bryan LaHair, RHP Chris Volstad, C Anthony Recker

• Going campin': As they enter the second year of the Theo Epstein era, the Cubs remain in the early stages of a building process. They did, however, try to speed things along. They made a big play for Anibal Sanchez before he re-signed with Detroit and then signed Jackson to a $52 million, four-year deal, all after a proposed trade that would have sent closer Carlos Marmol to the Los Angeles Angels for pitcher Dan Haren fell through. Those were breaks from the smaller deals the Cubs had made to that point under Epstein. They still have a long way to go, though. This isn't about quick fixes. The Cubs are trying to build up their minor-league system, hoping the payoff will be the club's first championship since 1908. Marmol could be in an awkward spot, given the trade that fell through and the arrival of Fujikawa from Japan. OF Alfonso Soriano and top starter Matt Garza have also come up in trade talks, yet the Cubs insist they're closer to contending than many realize. Never mind the record last season; they believe they're on the right path.

Chicago White Sox

• Manager: Robin Ventura (second season)

• 2012: 85-77, second place in the AL Central

• Training town: Glendale

• Park: Camelback Ranch

• He's here: 3B Jeff Keppinger, RHP Matt Lindstrom, 1B Lars Anderson, RHP Zach Stewart

• He's outta here: C A.J. Pierzynski, 3B Kevin Youkilis, RHP Brett Myers, SS Jose Lopez

• Going campin': The White Sox spent 117 days in first place last season, only to finish three games behind Detroit in the AL Central after a late fade. Now, they believe they are poised to challenge for the division crown. Never mind that there were no splashy acquisitions, that the biggest moves were keeping Jake Peavy and shuffling the front office. They promoted Rick Hahn to general manager and Ken Williams to executive vice president. The roster? Well, it's largely intact, with one notable exception. Pierzynski, one of the final links to the 2005 championship team, is gone. One reason the White Sox let the veteran catcher sign a one-year contract with Texas was because they believe Tyler Flowers is ready to take over behind the plate. He has shown he can field. The question is, can he hit? Another reason the White Sox split with Pierzynski is they wanted to re-sign Peavy after he bounced back from three injury-riddled seasons. With Peavy and Chris Sale leading a deep rotation and what looks like a solid bullpen behind them, the White Sox believe they have one of the American League's best staffs.

Cincinnati Reds

• Manager: Dusty Baker (sixth season)

• 2012: 97-65, first place in NL Central, lost in division series

• Training town: Goodyear

• Park: Goodyear Ballpark

• He's here: OF Shin-Soo Choo, INF Jack Hannahan, LHP Manny Parra, C Miguel Olivo

• He's outta here: OF Drew Stubbs, INF Wilson Valdez, LHP Bill Bray, RHP Ryan Madson, C Dioner Navarro, INF Miguel Cairo

• Going campin': The Reds have brought their division title team back mostly intact, thinking they have enough talent to contend for several years. The biggest change is in CF, where Choo replaces the strikeout-prone Stubbs, part of a three-team trade in the offseason. Choo hasn't played much center field lately, so it'll be interesting to see how well he does defensively. He's likely a one-year fix at the position while Billy Hamilton learns to play center at Triple-A this season. The other big change: Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman moves from the closer role into the rotation. Chapman was sensational as the fill-in closer last season. The Reds signed Jonathan Broxton - a midseason trade acquisition - to a three-year, $21 million deal, giving themselves a closer and opening the way for Chapman to contend for a spot in the rotation during spring training. The Reds have won the NL Central twice in the last three years, failing to advance past the first round of the playoffs each time. They think if they can stay healthy - none of their starting pitchers missed time due to injury last season until Johnny Cueto got hurt in the playoffs - they're in good shape for another run at the postseason.

Cleveland Indians

• Manager: Terry Francona (first season)

• 2012: 68-94, fourth place in the AL Central

• Training town: Goodyear

• Park: Goodyear Ballpark

• He's here: OF Michael Bourn, OF Nick Swisher, RHP Brett Myers, 1B-DH Mark Reynolds, OF Drew Stubbs, INF Mike Aviles, RHP Trevor Bauer, LHP Scott Kazmir, RHP Matt Albers, RHP Matt Capps, OF Ben Francisco

• He's outta here: Manager Manny Acta, OF Shin-Soo Choo, DH Travis Hafner, INF Jason Donald, RHP Roberto Hernandez, 3B Jack Hannahan, LHP Tony Sipp, OF Shelley Duncan, 1B Casey Kotchman, OF Grady Sizemore, LHP Rafael Perez, RHP Jeanmar Gomez

• Going campin': Francona, a former Arizona Wildcats star, returns rejuvenated after a one-year stint as a broadcaster following eight seasons in Boston, where he helped the Red Sox end The Curse and win two World Series. The 53-year-old said Cleveland was the only job he would have taken, and his hiring has provided a huge boost for the Indians and their fans, still reeling from the team's stunning collapse - the Indians went 5-24 in August - last season. Without Francona, Cleveland would have never landed a quality free agent like Swisher, a 20-homer, 90-RBI guy who signed a four-year, $56 million contract after the Indians tugged on his Ohio State ties to bring him home. Swisher will take over in right field for Choo, sent to Cincinnati for Stubbs, a .241 career hitter who has to cut down his strikeouts. Switch-hitting catcher Carlos Santana has 30-homer potential but needs to improve his skills behind the plate. Second baseman Jason Kipnis could be on the verge of breakout season. The former Arizona State standout hit .257 and led the Indians with 76 RBIs and 31 steals in his first full year in the majors.

Colorado Rockies

• Manager: Walt Weiss (first season)

• 2012: 64-98, fifth place in the NL West

• Training town: Scottsdale

• Park: Salt River Fields

• He's here: RHP Wilton Lopez, 3B-1B Ryan Wheeler, C Yorvit Torrealba, RHP Chris Volstad, RHP Miguel Batista

• He's outta here: Manager Jim Tracy, 1B Jason Giambi, RHP Alex White, RHP Guillermo Moscoso, RHP Josh Roenicke, LHP Matt Reynolds, LHP Jonathan Sanchez

• Going campin': The Rockies made no splashy offseason moves to bolster a club that lost a franchise-record 98 games. Instead, they're banking on the returns of lefty Jorge De La Rosa (elbow surgery) and All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (groin), along with a managerial switch. Colorado turns the controls over to Weiss, a former Rockies player who was coaching high school baseball at this time last year. Weiss takes over for Tracy, who stepped away, in part, because his responsibilities dwindled last season when Bill Geivett, the team's director of major-league operations, was given an office in the clubhouse and began focusing on roster management. The Rockies will again have Todd Helton and his stellar glove playing first base. Just how much they can rely on Helton is constantly a concern. The five-time All-Star is a lifetime .320 hitter, but batted a career-low .238 in 69 games before having season-ending surgery on Aug. 10 to repair a torn labrum in his right hip. He was recently arrested in a Denver suburb and charged with drunken driving.

Kansas City Royals

• Manager: Ned Yost (third season)

• 2012: 72-90, third place in the AL Central

• Training town: Surprise

• Park: Surprise Stadium

• He's here: RHP Ervin Santana, RHP James Shields, RHP Wade Davis, OF Xavier Nady, LHP George Sherrill, OF Endy Chavez

• He's outta here: INF Yuniesky Betancourt, LHP Jonathan Sanchez, RHP Jonathan Broxton

• Going campin': The Royals could have an entirely new starting rotation from the start of last season. They re-signed Jeremy Guthrie, who went 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA after a midseason trade with Colorado, to a three-year, $25 million deal. They then made a trade with the Los Angeles Angels for Santana, who is owed $13 million this season. But the biggest move of the offseason was when the Royals dealt top prospect Wil Myers and promising pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery to the Tampa Bay Rays for Shields, a former All-Star, and Davis. Shields was 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA last season, and Davis will be transitioning back to the rotation after spending last season in the bullpen, where he was 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA. The fifth spot in the rotation may be the most intriguing battle of spring training. Veteran left-hander Bruce Chen, former No. 1 overall draft pick Luke Hochevar and several others will be competing for the job. The rest of the lineup returns almost entirely intact, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of questions. 1B Eric Hosmer batted just .232 with 14 homers and 60 RBIs last season, and 3B Mike Moustakas hit .242 with 20 homers and 73 RBIs. The Royals will need more out of their corner infielders if they're going to compete with Detroit and Cleveland in the AL Central.

Los Angeles Angels

• Manager: Mike Scioscia (14th season)

• 2012: 89-73, third place in the AL West

• Training town: Tempe

• Park: Tempe Diablo Stadium

• He's here: OF Josh Hamilton, RHP Tommy Hanson, RHP Ryan Madson, LHP Jason Vargas, RHP Joe Blanton, LHP Sean Burnett, LHP Brandon Sisk, INF Bill Hall

• He's outta here: OF Torii Hunter, RHP Zack Greinke, 1B Kendrys Morales, RHP Dan Haren, RHP Ervin Santana, C Bobby Wilson, INF Maicer Izturis, RHP Jordan Walden, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, RHP Jason Isringhausen

• Going campin': Hamilton is the Angels' latest eye-catching prize from free agency, but he's just one part of a significant makeover of a good team that wasn't quite good enough last year. Los Angeles won more games than AL champion Detroit in 2012, yet still missed the playoffs for the third straight season. Right after the Angels decided not to spend the money to keep Greinke, they signed a similarly enormous check for Hamilton, who defected from Texas to join the Rangers' most consistent divisional rival. Hamilton's fearsome bat joins a lineup already featuring Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo. Los Angeles also is banking on long-injured Ryan Madson to become its new closer, although Ernesto Frieri is still around if he falters. The Angels are still stuck with underachieving Vernon Wells, who has two years left on his lavish contract.

Los Angeles Dodgers

• Manager: Don Mattingly (third season)

• 2012: 86-76, second place in NL West

• Training town: Glendale

• Park: Camelback Ranch

• He's here: RHP Zack Greinke, LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu, 2B-OF Skip Schumaker, LHP Rob Rasmussen, 2B Rusty Ryal, C Wilkin Castillo

• He's outta here: OF Shane Victorino, RHP Joe Blanton, RHP Jon Ely, RF Bobby Abreu, LHP Randy Choate, RHP Jamey Wright, RHP Todd Coffey, C Matt Treanor, LF Juan Rivera, 2B Adam Kennedy, RHP Blake Hawksworth

• Going campin': The new ownership group that includes Mark Walter, Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten will be in charge for its first full season after buying the team last May. The group opened its wallet last summer to acquire SS Hanley Ramirez, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, RHP Josh Beckett, LF Carl Crawford and RHP Brandon League. CF Matt Kemp is recovering from left shoulder surgery, and Crawford, obtained in last season's blockbuster trade with Boston, is recovering from the Tommy John surgery on his left elbow he had just before the deal. RF Andre Ethier signed an $85 million, five-year extension last summer, but rumors persist that the team might be willing to trade him. Mark McGwire makes his Dodgers debut as the hitting coach.

Milwaukee Brewers

• Manager: Ron Roenicke (third season).

• 2012: 83-79, third place in the NL Central

• Training town: Phoenix

• Park: Maryvale Baseball Park

• He's here: LHP Mike Gonzalez, LHP Tom Gorzelanny, RHP Burke Badenhop

• He's outta here: RHP Shaun Marcum, OF Nyjer Morgan, RHP Francisco Rodriguez, LHP Manny Parra, 1B Travis Ishikawa, RHP Kameron Loe, RHP Jose Veras, RHP Fautino De Los Santos

• Going campin': Yovani Gallardo is back, but the rest of the starting rotation is uncertain heading into spring training. Young pitchers Mike Fiers, Wily Peralta and Mark Rogers each will get a long look, and Chris Narveson likely will get a spot if he's fully recovered from shoulder surgery that ended his 2012 season after two starts. There also is some work to be done in the bullpen in front of closer John Axford and setup man Jim Henderson. Gonzalez, Gorzelanny and Badenhop each are expected to fill a role. A year ago, LF Ryan Braun headed to spring training with a 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy hanging over his head. Following a quiet offseason, Braun now will face more questions about performing-enhancing drugs after Yahoo Sports recently reported his name showed up three times in records from a Florida clinic being investigated by Major League Baseball. Milwaukee had a 54-66 record on Aug. 19, 2012, then closed the season with a 27-13 push that nearly got the team back into the playoffs. Can the 2011 NL Central champs pick up where they left off last year?

Oakland Athletics

• Manager: Bob Melvin (third season)

• 2012: 94-68, first place in AL West, lost in division series

• Training town: Phoenix

• Park: Phoenix Municipal Stadium

• He's here: OF Chris Young, SS Hiroyuki Nakajima, C John Jaso, INF Jed Lowrie, RHP Fernando Rodriguez

• He's outta here: RHP Brandon McCarthy, SS Stephen Drew, OF Jonny Gomes, SS Cliff Pennington, 3B Brandon Inge, C George Kottaras, RHP Tyson Ross, OF Collin Cowgill, RHP Jim Miller, 1B Chris Carter.

• Going campin': The low-budget A's came out of nowhere last season to beat out big spenders Texas and the Los Angeles Angels and win the AL West title on the final day of the season. Oakland will have a hard time taking teams by surprise again, but they might have more talent on this season's roster with the additions of Young and Japanese import Nakajima. A full season from lefty Brett Anderson and the return of right-hander Bartolo Colon after finishing his 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test should help make up for the loss of McCarthy. Oakland is also counting on an even bigger year from Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes in his second season in the majors. The key will be whether the bullpen led by closer Grant Balfour and setup men Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle can match last year's success and rookie starters Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone avoid sophomore slumps.

San Diego Padres

• Manager: Bud Black (seventh season)

• 2012: 76-86, fourth place in the NL West

• Training town: Peoria

• Park: Peoria Sports Complex

• He's here: RHP Tyson Ross, RHP Freddy Garcia, RHP Fautino De Los Santos

• He's outta here: RF Cory Burns, INF Andy Parrino, LHP Andrew Werner, RHP Micah Owings, RHP Dustin Moseley

• Going campin': The Padres failed to make even one significant signing during the offseason and have been making news for mostly the wrong reasons. Young catcher Yasmani Grandal, a former Tucson Padres star who had a strong rookie season with a .297 average, eight home runs and 36 RBIs in 60 games, was suspended for the first 50 games of 2013 because of a positive test for testosterone. Hard-throwing RHP Andrew Cashner cut a tendon in his right thumb during a hunting accident, meaning he'll probably start the season on the disabled list. Cashner was injured by a hunting partner while they were trimming a carcass. The new ownership group, comprised of members of the third generation of the O'Malley family, has so far kept a tight grip on its pocketbook after spending $800 million to buy the team. The biggest offseason move was re-signing RHP Jason Marquis to a $3 million, one-year deal. 3B Chase Headley's big season netted him a $5.1 million raise. He and the Padres avoided salary arbitration by agreeing on an $8,575,000, one-year contract. Long touted as a future star, the 28-year-old Headley broke out with 31 home runs and an NL-best 115 RBIs last season, when he made $3,475,000.

San Francisco Giants

• Manager: Bruce Bochy (seventh season)

• 2012: 94-68, first place, World Series champions

• Training town: Scottsdale

• Park: Scottsdale Stadium

• He's here: OF Andres Torres, RHP Sandy Rosario, RHP Chad Gaudin, INF Tony Abreu

• He's outta here: OF Melky Cabrera, RHP Brian Wilson, RHP Clay Hensley, C Eli Whiteside, 1B Aubrey Huff, RHP Guillermo Mota, OF Xavier Nady, INF Freddy Sanchez, INF Ryan Theriot

• Going campin': The Giants brought back almost the entire crew that helped them win a second World Series title in three seasons, with players who accounted for more than 95 percent of the postseason at-bats and all but 1 2/3 innings pitched still on the roster. San Francisco rewarded older players such as NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro, OF Angel Pagan and LHP Jeremy Affeldt with lucrative contracts to return via free agency. The core of the team remains the starting pitching staff anchored by Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, and NL MVP Buster Posey behind the plate. The big questions heading into 2013 are whether Sergio Romo can handle a full season as closer and two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum can return to form after struggling with an NL-worst 5.18 ERA that cost him a spot in the postseason rotation.

Seattle Mariners

• Manager: Eric Wedge (third season)

• 2012: 75-87, fourth place in the AL West

• Training town: Peoria

• Park: Peoria Sports Complex

• He's here: OF-DH Michael Morse, 1B-DH Kendrys Morales, OF-DH Raul Ibanez, OF-DH Jason Bay, C Kelly Shoppach, INF Robert Andino

• He's outta here: LHP Jason Vargas, C Miguel Olivo, C John Jaso, INF Munenori Kawasaki, INF Chone Figgins, RHP Shawn Kelley.

• Going campin': Seattle tried to upgrade its offense in the offseason but was forced to do so through trades after failing to land free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton. Acquiring Morales cost Seattle the No. 2 pitcher in its rotation with Vargas going back to the Angels, but it helped solidify the Mariners' designated hitter role. Before he broke his ankle in 2010, Morales hit 34 homers and finished fifth in AL MVP voting. Coupled with the addition of Morse - from Washington - Seattle's offense instantly should get an upgrade from where it stood the past three years when it was the worst in baseball. One big debate to settle during spring training is what happens at first base. Is Justin Smoak out of chances to be an everyday starter, or can he parlay a strong close to 2012 into solidifying a role in the lineup? Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez will try and get through spring training healthy for the first time in three years. Seattle's bullpen is solid, but the rotation remains a question after ace Felix Hernandez, who signed a $175 million, seven-year contract with the Mariners that makes him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball.

Texas Rangers

• Manager: Ron Washington (seventh season)

• 2012: 93-69, second place in the AL West, lost wild card game

• Training town: Surprise

• Park: Surprise Stadium

• He's here: DH-1B Lance Berkman, RHP Josh Lindblom, RHP Joakim Soria, C A.J. Pierzynski, hitting coach Dave Magadan

• He's outta here: OF Josh Hamilton, INF Michael Young, C Mike Napoli, RHP Koji Uehara, RHP Mike Adams, RHP Scott Feldman

• Going campin': There are significant changes with the offseason departures of Hamilton, a five-time All-Star and 2010 AL MVP, Napoli and Young, the franchise's career hits leader and longest-tenured player before being traded to Philadelphia. After consecutive World Series appearances, Texas didn't even win a playoff game last October, losing the AL's first one-and-done wild card playoff after going 4-9 down the stretch and losing the AL West title on the last day of the regular season. Top infield prospects Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt, who made their big-league debuts last season, are among players who could get a look in the outfield this spring. While many will view this offseason as a failure for the Rangers, general manager Jon Daniels' only concern is what happens during the season and he genuinely likes their chances. Especially with a solid starting rotation fronted by Yu Darvish, the Japanese ace who won 16 games as a major-league rookie, and Matt Harrison, the lefty who received a $55 million, five-year contract extension after winning 18 games in an All-Star season.

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