Key departures: OF Milton Bradley, 1B Hee-Seop Choi, RP Duaner Sanchez, SP Jeff Weaver.
On the way up: On the way up now are Dioner Navarro, who, if the hamstring clears up, could catch 120 games; right-hander Jonathan Broxton, built like a Hummer; left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo, who, at 24, has had one more Tommy John surgery than Tommy John had; and right-hander Chad Billingsley, ranked seventh in Baseball America's list of the top 100 prospects. On the way up sometime in the next season or two: half the Las Vegas roster.
On the way out: Lofton, Garciaparra, Jose Cruz Jr. and Mueller are among those keeping spots warm for the prospects. What happens when Cesar Izturis regains his arm strength remains unexplained. Odalis Perez was shopped this winter, but there wasn't much interest. Eric Gagne comes off surgery and approaches free agency.
Story lines: GM Ned Colletti did a commendable job bridging the games between today's Dodgers and tomorrow's, and now it's a matter of keeping all the old guys patched up. It'll take only a mediocre season to win the West, and the Dodgers are just the team to do it.
At Angel Stadium: June 30-July 2.
2. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Key arrivals: CF Steve Finley, 1B Mark Sweeney, RP Steve Kline, SP Matt Morris.
On the way up: It was only seven starts and 46 1/3 innings, but right-hander Matt Cain arrived Aug. 29 and dropped a 2.33 ERA on the NL. Yes, it was September and his starts were mostly against the soft lineups of the West. But he threw consistently in the mid-90s and showed a big-league curveball.
On the way out: Can we assume this is Barry Bonds' last season? He'll be 42 in July, stands on one knee and swings with one elbow. Which means he'll have Hank Aaron's record by late August. Finley says he's rediscovered his stroke after dealing with a shoulder injury in 2005.
Story lines: If Bonds can play left field 100 times, the Giants could win the division. All things considered, he had a remarkable spring for an old guy who'd just been accused of taking steroids again, who is suing the authors of the latest Barry-Did-It tome, who films a television program every day, who is rehabilitating a knee and an elbow and who is the subject of an MLB investigation. Say what you will, the man has focus.
At Dodger Stadium: April 14-16, July 6-9, Aug. 11-13.
3. SAN DIEGO PADRES
Key arrivals: 2B Mark Bellhorn, SP Dewon Brazelton, CF Mike Cameron, 3B Vinny Castilla, SP Shawn Estes, C Mike Piazza, SP Chris Young.
Key departures: SP Pedro Astacio, 3B Sean Burroughs, SP Adam Eaton, C Ramon Hernandez, SP Brian Lawrence, 2B Mark Loretta, OF Xavier Nady, RP Akinori Otsuka, 3B Joe Randa.
On the way up: Josh Barfield, 23, beat out Bellhorn for the second base job. Though described as a bit stiff at second, he can hit: At triple-A Portland, he batted .310 with 15 home runs. The rotation after Jake Peavy and Young consists of Estes and Brazelton, so the Padres really need Young to pitch close to his potential.
On the way out: Given the dimensions of their ballpark, the Padres recognized the need to get a little more athletic and traded for Castilla, who will be 39 in July. In his heyday, Piazza had tremendous power to right-center, which won't help him at Petco, where he'd be better served to turn on pitches.
Story lines: The Padres did become a better fit for Petco. The outfield of Dave Roberts, Mike Cameron and Brian Giles is an upgrade. Trevor Hoffman has 436 saves, 42 behind all-time leader Lee Smith.
At Dodger Stadium: May 3-4, July 24-26, Sept. 15-18.
At Angel Stadium: June 16-18.
4. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Key arrivals: RP Miguel Batista, OF Eric Byrnes, 2B Damion Easley, SP Orlando Hernandez, 2B Orlando Hudson, RP Luis Vizcaino.
Key departures: SS Royce Clayton, SP Shawn Estes, 3B Troy Glaus, SP Javier Vazquez.
On the way up: Conor Jackson knows the strike zone and should develop into a power hitter. Shortstops Justin Upton and Stephen Drew, J.D.'s younger brother, are among Baseball America's top five prospects.
On the way out: Luis Gonzalez is 38, in the last guaranteed year of his contract, and the outfield prospects are circling. Hernandez will be a good stopgap guy, but the Diamondbacks have their eye on next winter's free-agent pitchers.
Story lines: A year ago they spent big for third baseman Glaus, and signed first baseman Tony Clark. Chad Tracy, a third baseman, played mostly first and some right. Jackson, a first baseman, went to Tucson. Now, Josh Byrnes has replaced Joe Garagiola Jr. as GM, Glaus is in Toronto, Tracy is at third, Jackson is at first, Clark's on the bench and everybody's pretty much where they ought to be. Well, except Craig Counsell, who has played nearly twice as many games at second than at shortstop, is at shortstop.
At Dodger Stadium: April 21-23, July 3-5, Sept. 22-24.
5. COLORADO ROCKIES
Key arrivals: SP Josh Fogg, RP Ray King, C Eli Marrero, RP Jose Mesa, C Yorvit Torrealba.
Key departures: OF Larry Bigbie, RP Dan Miceli, SP Jamey Wright.
On the way up: ... the stairs. Carrying a hunk of deer over your shoulder, when your night job is playing shortstop in the big leagues, and you're batting .329. Life changed pretty dramatically that day for Clint Barmes, who went from the talk of baseball to the disabled list for three months after breaking his collarbone. Todd Helton gutted through back pain most of last season and still batted .320 with 20 home runs. He'll return to Helton-like numbers in 2006.
On the way out: Mesa is on a one-year contract and could look good to a contender in July. Right-hander Jason Jennings, NL rookie of the year in 2002, hasn't had a winning record or a sub-5.00 ERA since.
Story lines: Though they were an annoying bunch to play by the end of last season, the Rockies still lost 95 games and will be hard-pressed to stay under 90 this year. They didn't do enough to upgrade the pitching staff, even with the additions of Mesa and Ray King.
At Dodger Stadium: May 22-24, Aug. 7-10, Sept. 1-3.
At Angel Stadium: June 26-28.