D-backs among top stories in Cactus League camps

Feb 20, 2012, 11:01 PM | Updated: 11:22 pm
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It’s that time of year again when hope springs eternal for all 30 Major League Baseball teams. Pitchers and catchers reported to camp this weekend, signifying the official start to the new season.

Not surprisingly, the new-look Angels have garnered the most attention in Cactus League camps, after luring the prized free agent on the market, Albert Pujols, away from the defending World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

“I think that you have to begin with the fact that the best player in the game changed teams and changed the balance of power,” MLB.com writer Richard Justice told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Monday. “Then you take the Angels’ second move to get C.J. Wilson and you move 200 innings from the first place team to the second place team.”

Justice also had nothing but praise for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ proactive offseason.

“Kevin Towers believed ‘hey we got to get better, you got to keep changing the group, the come-from-behind wins, you can’t ride all that two years in a row’,” Justice stated. “He had a great offseason — that team is a lot better.”

Justice believes there isn’t a shortage of great stories coming out of the National League West. He also thinks the D-backs’ aggressive winter signals a nod of respect towards their division rival San Francisco Giants, who possess one of the deepest rotations in the game.

According to Justice, the biggest difference from last spring’s predictions is that there isn’t one dominant team who is far and away better than the rest and a clear-cut favorite to win it all.

The Philadelphia Phillies have been the media’s preseason darlings the last few years, but their inability to make it back to the World Series last season has made them vulnerable to other teams in the league who have greatly improved their roster.

“Is their [the Phillies] pitching better than the Diamondbacks pitching or is their rotation better than the Giants rotation,” Justice asked.

While still among the cream of the crop in the league, the Phillies now face some serious competition from their National League foes and they can look no further than the Diamondbacks, who figure to pose one of their biggest threats.

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