National League West season delay team impact


With the start of the regular season on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we took a look at how the delay might affect each team in the National League West.

Keep in mind that the rapidly changing situation makes predictions impossible, but at this time, here’s what we think:

The season delay has forced the team to cancel its series against the Padres in Mexico City that was scheduled for April 18-19. The one injury of note for the D-backs this spring involved right-hander Mike Leake, who reaggravated a fracture in his left wrist as camp opened. Leake had been questionable for Opening Day, but it was going to be close. Now, it seems like he could be healthy when the season does open. If the season is shortened in any way, it could mean that the team would not need to shorten the innings workload of starter Luke Weaver, who missed most of last season with an elbow issue. The D-backs have a bit of an advantage in that a lot of their players live in the Phoenix area and can still use the facilities at Chase Field in very small groups. — Steve Gilbert

The Dodgers were loaded at the pause and they’ll be loaded when play resumes. A shortened season might reduce the ultimate margin of victory for an eighth consecutive division title. Mathematically, it might even reduce their odds of finishing first. But as long as there is a season, the delay should only delay the inevitable. After all, they won the division by 21 games last year, then added Mookie Betts and David Price for this year. That hasn’t changed. And at last check they were healthy, with Joc Pederson the only impact player nursing an injury, and he had already returned to playing in Minor League games. — Ken Gurnick

The delay will have several ripple effects for the Giants, most notably giving injured players who were questionable for Opening Day more time to recover from their ailments. Veteran Tony Watson had been slowed early in camp by left shoulder tightness, but he could be ready to help lead the bullpen, barring any setbacks. Pablo Sandoval, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, wasn’t expected to return until May, but he had been taking at-bats in Cactus League games and will likely be healthy. Sandoval, who re-signed on a Minor League deal, could further crowd the infield picture and create more of a roster crunch for the Giants. The postponement could also affect the fifth-starter competition, as Tyler Anderson could potentially enter the fray if he completes his recovery from left knee surgery. — Maria Guardado

It was almost shocking how healthy the Padres were as a group this spring. Only lefty reliever José Castillo seemed in jeopardy of missing Opening Day. Other teams have players healing, but the Padres are mostly just waiting. That being said, there might still be a positive aspect to this delay for them. Perhaps the later start eases some of the burden on Dinelson Lamet and Garrett Richards, who returned from Tommy John surgery last season and looked sharp this spring. Maybe it allows the Padres to better limit the innings on prospects MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patiño. Of course, given the uncertain nature of the situation, it’s impossible to say. — AJ Cassavell

It seemed the Spring Training closure was going to be less painful for the Rockies, since many of their players established homes in Scottsdale, Ariz., early in their careers. Voluntary workouts at Salt River Fields meant all but the players who lived elsewhere and had family concerns could continue working as usual. But the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian community closed the facility as a precaution. Now players will be scrambling. The Rockies have opened Coors Field, but a winter storm hit Thursday and is expected to last into Friday. The club has completed work on a new field and drainage system, but it will be at least another week before it is ready for activity. Players were informed of this, so they could make a decision on where to train. — Thomas Harding


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