NL West: Offseason Champs vs World Series Champs?

Good Morning Nats and Baseball Fans alike!

Today, we take a look at a division that holds two varieties of Champion. The World Series ChampionSan Francisco Giants, who swept the Detroit Tigers to win their 2nd World Series in 3 years, and the LA Dodgers, who seemingly have signed or traded for anyone with a pulse. This season in the NL West will be marked with the storyline of spending over scouting. The Giants steadily developed their players, year by year. The Dodgers final day lineup had 6 or 7 different names in it compared to the Opening Day Lineup. This division will be fascinating, so let’s get to it!

San Francisco Giants. 2012 Record: 94-68, 1st in NL West, Won World Series (4-0 over DET)
Transactions:
11/12/12: Signed LHP Jeremy Affeldt (3yr/$18MM)
12/7/12: Signed IF Marco Scutaro (3yr/$20MM), Signed OF Angel Pagan (4yr/$40MM)
12/13/12: Signed OF Andres Torres (1yr/$2MM)
12/21/12: Signed RHP Santiago Casilla (3yr/$15MM)

Needless to say the Giants are a steady organization who rewards their players. Torres and Scutaro are the only guys to get deals and not start the season with the team. I fully expect this team to be right back in it this season, because most of their team is returning and I don’t expect Lincecum to be as bad as he was.

Prediction: 96-66, 1st in NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers. 2012 Record: 86-76, 2nd in NL West
Transactions:
10/30/12: Signed CL Brandon League (3yr/$22.5MM)
12/9/12: Signed LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (6yr/$36MM), Signed RHP Zack Greinke (6yr/$147MM)
1/7/13: Signed LHP JP Howell (1yr/$2.85MM)

The Dodgers plan is very smart. Look at their roster and see if you notice something. Give up? Okay, i’ll tell you: none of their key players (AGon, Greinke, Kemp, Eithier, etc) are signed past age 36. You may say that’s a coincidence. You would be wrong. This is by design because of the quality of their Farm System, anticipating it will take roughly that long to replenish and call up those players. Are they going to be good? Yeah, the question is how good. This will be a big year for Don Mattingly as a manager, because he’s going to be managing under huge expectations.

Prediction: 94-68, second in NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks. 2012 Record: 81-81, 3rd place in NL West
Transactions
10/20/12: Exercised option on CL JJ Putz (1yr/$6.5MM). Acquired SS Cliff Pennington from OAK for OF Chris Young.
12/22/12: Signed OF Cody Ross (3yr/$26MM)
1/14/13: Extended CL JJ Putz (1yr/$7MM)
1/24/13: Acquired UTIL Martin Prado, RHP Randall Delgado and prospects from ATL for OF Justin Upton and 3B Chris Johnson.
1/30/13: Signed SS Cliff Pennington (2yr/$5MM)
1/31/13: Extended UTIL Martin Prado (4yr/$40MM)
2/8/13: Extended IF Aaron Hill (3yr/$35MM)
3/20/13: Traded IF John McDonald to PIT for prospect

Well, after season after season of rumor and speculation, Kevin Towers finally pulls the trigger on a Justin Upton trade, dealing him to Atlanta, where he joins his brother. Kirk Gibson now has a team of players he likes, which could translate to more wins this season in the desert. Their bullpen is solid and their rotation could be very good. I just believe their division is too top heavy.

Prediction: 85-77, 3rd in NL West

San Diego Padres. 2012 Result: 76-86, 4th in NL West
Transactions
12/3/12: Signed RHP Jason Marquis (1yr/$3MM)
1/28/13: Signed RHP Freddy Garcia (MIN- $1.3MM)

The Padres finished very strong last year and have a very good core of players. The question is how good will their starting pitching be? Edinson Volquez is still an enigma and needs a solid year, and everyone else is very young. Andrew Cashner is a guy who could have a breakout year for them, and it will be interesting to see if Chase Headley repeats last year. I see this as a make or break year for Bud Black because after 2010 the Padres have been a footnote in that division.

Prediction: 82-80, 4th in NL West.

Colorado Rockies. 2012 Result: 64-98, last in NL West.
Transactions
10/31/12: Exercised option on LHP Jorge De La Rosa. (1yr/$11MM)
11/20/12: Acquired 3B Ryan Wheeler from ARI for IF Matt Reynolds.
12/4/12: Acquired P Wilton Lopez & PTBNL from HOU for LHP Alex White & Alex Gillingham.
12/19/12: Signed LHP Jeff Francis (1yr/$1.5MM)
1/21/13: Signed RHP Chris Volstad (MIN-$1.5Mm)
2/14/13: Acquired SS Reid Brignac from TB for cash.

The Rockies are a mess, pitching wise. I mean, come on, they have a Director of Pitching. Walt Weiss isn’t walking into a contender in Colorado, especially for a guy on a one year deal. If the Rockies finish over .500 and are competitive through September, then Dan O’Dowd and Weiss get another go. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening, so i foresee a one and done for Weiss and the Rockies cleaning house. I think this team could be as bad as Houston or Miami.

Prediction: 60-102, last in NL West

Final Results
1) Giants 96-66 —
2) Dodgers 94-68 2.0
3) Diamondbacks 85-77 11.0
4) Padres 82-80 14.0
5) Rockies 60-102 36.0

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