The Dbacks are scrambling for roster help by extending invitations to many minor leaguers for Spring Training. Pitchers who received invitations include Dustin Nippert, Brady Raggio, Adriano Rosario, and Brandon Villafuerte. Catchers Craig Ainsman, Juan Brito, Chris Snyder, and Alan Zinter and infielder Donny Sadler and outfielders Luis Garcia, Felix Jose, and Julio Ramirez also received invitations. Hot prospect, Brad Cresse, who held the future of Arizona's catcher position, was dealt to Montreal for a player to be named later. Cresse was removed from the 40-man roster to make room for second baseman, Roberto Alomar. The Dbacks are also open to the possibility of signing a right fielder at a cheap price.
The Rockies have been spending this offseason signing veteran players to minor league contracts so their prospects wouldn't be forced into a situation where they will be challenged to survive, because they're not ready for the big leagues. Shawn Estes is the latest veteran who was signed to a minor league contract with Colorado. He will be competing with Jeff Fassero and Brian Tollberg for a rotation spot. Terry Wetzel was presented with the Pat Daughterty Award for 2003, and award that goes to the Rockies' scout of the year. Coley Brannon was presented with the Herb Hippauf Award for his service to the team as the director of professional scouting.
Los Angeles Dodgers:
Frank McCourt has bought the Dodgers, but there are still players facing arbitration at this point, including closer and 2003 Cy Young winner, Eric Gagne. Guillermo Mota and Jolbert Cabrera are the other players facing arbitration. A deal is believed to be settled with Mota and Cabrera, but since Gagne had a monster season, his case may go before an arbitrator in February. Gagne wants $8 million, but the team is only offering $5 million. The Dodgers signed Jeremy Giambi to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. The Dodgers have also been busy trying to find a hitting coach, and former Dodger, Tim Wallach is considered the lead candidate. Whoever it will be, he'll have his job cut out for him. Los Angeles scored the least runs in the entire league last season. Odalis Perez is considered as the top trade bait for the Dodgers this offseason.
San Diego Padres:
This offseason, the Padres have addressed all of their needs to some extent. Their pitching rotation is set, and Ramon Hernandez is their catcher. Instead of being stuck with no closer, they now have three: Trevor Hoffman, Rod Beck, and Japanese pitcher Akinori Otsuka. Their bench has also vastly improved, adding names like Jeff Cirillo, Rey Ordonez, Terrence Long, Tom Wilson, Ramon Vasquez, and Brian Buchanan. Left handed starter Mike Bynum was dropped from the 40-man roster to make room for Jay Payton. Steve Webber and Wally Whitehurse have been named as minor league pitching coaches for the Padres.
San Francisco Giants:
Since signing Brett Tomko, the Giants have not done much. President Bush mentioned the use of steroids and BALCO in his State of the Union address, which was particularly interesting to San Francisco because of Barry Bonds, and because BALCO is situated in the Bay Area. The Giants hope to have a new working facility for spring training, replacing the Indian School Park, by 2006. They are very happy with their stadium in Scottsdale, but they believe their training facility could be upgraded.