For Edinson Volquez, Jason Kubel and Travis Wood, Christmas came a few days early this year. Although each struggled through the 2011 season, all three have received a fresh start with a new organization, and perhaps more importantly, all have traded in home ballparks that were terrible fits for their individual skills in exchange for environments that should prove far more friendly.
Perhaps no one will make a larger upgrade in surroundings this winter than Volquez, who is moving from a bandbox in Cincinnati to the pitcher's paradise that is San Diego. In fact, for a pitcher whose primary problem last year was allowing home runs, it's hard to find a better upgrade than moving from Great American Ballpark to Petco Park. For comparison, 209 home runs were hit in Cincinnati last year -- third-most in baseball -- while just 100 were hit in San Diego, the second-lowest total of any park.