So who is being picked to win the NL West this year? Are the Diamondbacks still favored to win? Personally I can see them repeating, but I can also see the Giants giving them a run for their money again. Should we start looking for the Giants-Diamonbacks feud instead of Giants-Dodgers?
Yes, I believe the Diamondbacks are still the favorites, they have the same team as last year. I wouldn't expect Luis Gonzalez to duplicate his numbers of last year, and Matt Williams and Mark Grace are another year older. The pitching staff is even better, the replaced Albie Lopez with Rick Helling, and will have Stottlemyre back and Matt Mantei will be back later in the year if Kim struggles.
The Giants, will definitely be right there. Bonds of course will have another good year, plus they have Reggie Sanders now and added David Bell at third and acquired Shinjo who will make a nice defensive substitute/pinch runner. I think those are some nice additions. Apparently Jeff Kent doesn't agree with me, when he got to spring training he said that he didn't think these acquiring Shinjo and Sanders and resigning Bonds and Jason Schmidt would help the team? Huh? Resigning a guy who just hit 73 homeruns will not help the team? Does Kent think that him, Rich Aurilla, and 80 year old Benito Santiago can win the World Series by themselves?? Last year he was saying that he didn't care if Bonds came back and this year he goes off about how none of the moves helped them? His contract ends at the end of this year, I say get rid of his whining butt. Send him to Montreal or something.
The Dodgers I don't think are much worse than last year. Yeah I know they lost Sheffield, but remember they only finished 6 games out last year with a pitching staff that was also injured most of the season. Sheffield is out, Jordan is in, which will help in the lockerroom, but not exactly equal as far as offensive numbers. They also added Dante Bichette to try and help out, not sure how much it will though. They bring back Nomo, and bring in Omaar Daal. So they're definitely a team that will focus on pitching and defense but I don't think they will all that bad. Especially if Beltre has a breakout year.
In the end I think it probably will be Giants or Diamondbacks winning with Dodgers in third, but I don't think the Dodgers will be more than 6 games back like last year. As for the Giants rivalry, the Diamondbacks are a better team than the Dodgers but a Giants vs. Dodgers game is still more intriguing to me personally than Giants vs. Diamondbacks.
I would call the D-Backs, Giants, and Padres pretty even.
- D-Backs: Yeah, WS winners, but so so so old... and really not much offense if Luis Gonzalez doesn't do that again - Giants: Pretty much the same team, maybe a tiny bit better, or maybe not - Padres: Some good vets (most notably Nevin & Klesko), got some good starting pitching last year, need some of the promising kids to come through
If I lived back in the wild west days, instead of carrying a six-gun in my holster, I'd carry a soldering iron. That way, if some smart-aleck cowboy said something like "Hey, look. He's carrying a soldering iron!" and started laughing, and everybody else started laughing, I could just say, "That's right, it's a soldering iron. The soldering iron of justice." Then everybody would get real quiet and ashamed, because they had made fun of the soldering iron of justice, and I could probably hit them up for a free drink.
Kent has always been somewhat of a whiner. No Giants fans really seem to care though as long as he puts up good numbers. I think if Kent has a comeback year, and I think he will if he stops whining and thinking more positively and seeks retribution for last year, then the Giants will likely have the best offense in the league. I think Sanders definately helps, but I am still waiting to see what he's going to do and if he'll perform for Dusty.
I know this sounds weird but I think Dusty may actually be the teams weakest spot right now. After having lost it time and time again to stuipid moves, Dusty may be loosing his magic and his ability to keep guys together and in a positive attitude. I mean, after awhile loosing to stupid moves and being criticized has got to get to you. He's no longer the "young, enthusiastic" manager as far as I can tell and may have a more difficult time of it this year, especially considering this is the last year on his contract I believe. I'd love to see the Giants keep him around but I think he's gonna have to get the the World Series this year for that to happen, and I don't know if they're going to make it.
I think David Bell is a huge addition to the Giants lineup. Being a team that doesn't ever make many moves, the Giants made a good quiet one here. David Bell isn't a monster or anything, but he's a nice piece to have around the bottom of the lineup. His glove isn't bad either.
I'm scratching my head on your pickup of Valdez. Sure, he's 9-5, but he won most of those games much earlier in the season, and his arm is gone. He's also old. I just don't see how anyone thinks this is the final piece for their team.