The weather is getting warmer and the skies are clearing up; meaning spring is close at hand. I love to see that spring is almost here because of the time of year. This is when an exciting time in sports comes to a pinnacle. Baseball begins, college basketball has the tournament, hockey and pro basketball near the end of the season, and the pro football combine and draft initiate the football offseason. This is fun to think about because of what will be happening soon. Most importantly baseball commences.
Spring training has started and because of that, collateral damage from offseason inactivity and last year's injuries are carried into AZ and FL camps. The biggest FA this offseason (Cliff Lee) comes into Phillies' camp injured. Official reports say that it is only soreness in Lee's lat. Regardless the condition of the injury, the news comes at a bad time because of the huge contract that he signed. Lee has said that he injured himself after he had signed his expensive contract, but that does not put to rest the skepticisms of his health before signing with Philly. Maybe because Lee pitched so much during the second half and post season with Texas he is still recuperating from last year? It is hard to say but Lee being injured is not good news for Philly. Other than Hamels, the big three in Philly's rotation (Halladay, Lee, and Oswalt) are all over the age of 30 and their ages and ability could affect this crowned all-star staff sometime this season. Philly will have to be careful with Lee and the others on their staff because they have put a lot of hope and money into them bringing the Phillies back to the Promised Land. Philly's offense struggled last year and now that they are starting a rookie in RF (Dominic Brown), they are going to have to bounce back hard and hope their staff stays healthy and lives up to their responsibility.
Texas also was hit hard with the news of newcomers Adrian Beltre and Brandon Webb having healthy issues. In Webb's case, this could've been seen from a distant because of the lack of playing he has had over the last couple of seasons. According to officials, Webb is still needing to build up arm strength and recover from his surgery in order to pitch off a mound. The Rangers probably knew the risk they were taking in signing him and that is why Webb was signed for an inexpensive, one year deal. In Beltre's case, the Rangers neither signed him for a small nor inexpensive contract. Beltre's calf seems to be bothering him but it was said that he was not in any way unable to perform drills less than he usually does. Despite the minor problem this is news that could be worrisome because of the amount of money Texas gave him. Beltre also has a history of underperforming after signing big contracts. Texas needs both Webb and Beltre in their respective roles. The offensive power that Texas already has will permit Beltre to take some time off if needed. Texas' pitching staff on the other hand will have to really step up if Webb is unable to play. Pitchers will just have to work that much harder to take that open spot in the rotation, if vacant.
As I stated in my preseason picks, Colorado should win the NL west. After seeing Hot Stove today and seeing how the Rockies look, I am that much more convinced “they are who we thought they were.” I said that Troy Tulowitski and Carlos Gonzalez were the new faces of the team and today they proved my point. CarGo showed up with 15 lbs. of added muscle to his frame. With the way he performed last year and now having added muscle (steroid free), he should be able to match his play and possibly perform better this season. Tulo showed up leaner and mullet free. That shows you he has really grown up and is becoming the leader of that clubhouse officially. Colorado's team seems to be 100% healthy and I think they will live up to their hype and truly shine this year in the west.