Every team starts the season tied for first place, and in baseball anything is possible. For the players and fans there are hopes, and even for some, dreams, that their team will be a top their division at the end of the season. With Opening Day less than a month away, here is how I see the National League West shaping out to be:
1st - San Francisco Giants:
The Giants have been the best team in the MLB over the last three seasons, but this season will be their toughest, with the improvement of both the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. This offseason the Giants made key moves by resigning players from last seasons World Series team.
Marco Scutaro, Angel Pagan and Jeremy Affeldt were all brought back on multi-year deals, and the Giants also added free agent outfielder, Andres Torres, to platoon in left field with Gregor Blanco. With these key transactions, along with their stellar pitching rotation, the Giants will win a competitive NL West.
2nd - Arizona Diamondbacks:
This offseason the Diamondbacks finally pulled the trigger on trading Justin Upton to the Braves for a solid package of players, led by Martin Prado. They also traded away highly touted pitching prospect Trevor Bauer in a three team deal, that landed them shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius.
Even though both of these moves improved their team, the biggest addition was signing pitcher Brandon McCarthy to a two year, $15.5 million deal. When healthy, McCarthy has ace potential, and he will improve the D-backs pitching staff. The Diamondbacks will surprise many people, and expect them to be competing for a NL Wild Card the entire season.
3rd - Los Angeles Dodgers:
The Los Angeles Dodgers spent a huge amount of money this offseason, and they will find out that money does not buy everything. They signed pitcher, Zack Greinke to a mega deal worth $147 million over six years, and left handed Korean pitcher, Ryu Hyun-jin to a six year, $36 million deal. This will improve the Dodgers rotation, but it will not guarantee success.
Even though the Dodgers have added many quality players since last seasons' trade deadline, injuries and the lack of team chemistry will hurt their chances at winning the pennant.
4th - San Diego Padres:
The Padres had a very quiet offseason, besides signing pitchers Freddy Garcia and Tyson Ross, and they will be relying on their deep farm system to improve their big league club. The Padres are in rebuilding mode, and they will not be competing for a playoff spot within the next few seasons.
5th - Colorado Rockies:
The Colorado Rockies had the worst pitching rotation last season, and they did very little to improve it this winter. They brought in some veteran pitchers, including Chris Volstad, Jeff Francis, and Miguel Batista, but they will not help a young, inexperienced pitching staff. The one positive move the Rockies made was, trading for relief pitcher Wilton Lopez to improve their bullpen.
Troy Tulowitzki is returning from injury and the Rockies pitching staff has another year of experience, but it will not be enough to keep them out of the cellar in the NL West.