The injury to Madison Bumgarner and the slow start from the Dodgers has created an unexpected window for the Rockies and Diamondbacks in the National League West, argues Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. While both Colorado and Arizona come with some question marks — the Rockies will soon be trotting out a three-rookie rotation, while the D-backs are braced for a potential injury to a somewhat improved Shelby Miller — both teams are stocked with emerging talent. First-year managers Bud Black and Torey Lovullo both spoke to Rosenthal on Sunday about their teams’ quick starts to the year. Interestingly, Black suggested that it’s possible that Ian Desmond will see some time in the outfield upon his return from a fractured hand, as that would allow him to get both Mark Reynolds and Desmond into the lineup against tougher left-handed starters. While the season is still in its early stages and much can change — the D-backs and Rockies were both .500 on this day last year, and the White Sox had baseball’s third-best record — the influx of young talent and return of injured stars in both Colorado and Arizona at least gives both clubs optimism that they could soon return to contention.
More from the NL West…
- In the wake of Madison Bumgarner’s injury, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News opines that tanking the 2017 season might not be the worst thing for the long-term future of the Giants. Baggarly notes that the front office still has several months to make this determination, but his argument stems from the fact that the rest of the NL West is getting younger and more athletic with the arrival of young talent from the minor leagues. Trading players such as Johnny Cueto and Eduardo Nunez this summer would pave the way for San Francisco’s own top young talent (Tyler Beede and Christian Arroyo) to arrive in the Majors and would also replenish the minor league ranks (as would a high pick in the 2018 draft). The Giants needn’t employ a long-term rebuild, Baggarly notes, as they could reasonably expect significant contributions out of Bumgarner and injured southpaw Will Smith next season, plus perhaps either (or both) of the aforementioned Beede and Arroyo.
- Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron argues the opposite, meanwhile, writing that despite the injury to Bumgarner and a 6-13 start to the year, the Giants shouldn’t punt on the season. Cameron notes that the Giants are far from the only underperforming club that entered the season as a projected contender. The Mets, Cardinals and Pirates have all gotten off to poor starts and suffered significant losses, while the division-favorite Dodgers are also below .500. Cameron adds that Arroyo and Beede can both be auditioned without making trades to free up space — he suggests shifting Nunez to left field and simply plugging Beede into Bumgarner’s vacant rotation slot — and also notes that both Cueto and Nunez would come with limited trade value. Cueto, he points out, would be valued as a rental but come with the downside of potentially being stuck with the remaining four years on his contract should he incur an injury.