If you’re looking for the top three teams in the National League West, look no further than the Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants, in no particular order. They’re rivals gunning for the division title this season, but even rivals can still tell the truth about the opposition.
Despite losing right-hander Zack Greinke to the Diamondbacks in free agency, the Dodgers have reloaded and retooled just enough to stay atop most of the offseason projections as far as the division is concerned. And their rivals are starting to take notice of just how formidable Los Angeles remains.
“They have so much talent there and it’s not one guy that helps you win a division,” [Giants manager] Bochy told ESPN.com at an annual spring gathering of Cactus League managers and general managers.
Bochy’s right. It’s not just one guy that helps you win a division, especially when it’s a pitcher in a lot of instances. It takes a whole team to do the job, and the Boys In Blue definitely still have the depth across the roster to be a tough out for anyone on any night.
From Arizona manager Chip Hale:
“The Giants have really loaded, they’re really good, and the Dodgers are excellent. They might have lost Zack, but they have a lot of depth, good hitters, bullpen arms and depth in their system.”
Note the wording used there. The Giants were “really good” while the Dodgers were “excellent.” It seems that rival managers are taking notice of just how good Los Angeles happens to be, even without Greinke in the fold.
The NL West is going to be a tooth-and-nail affair all season long, so the early matchups will matter just as much as the late ones will. The Dodgers play the Giants seven times in April while they play the Diamondbacks three times. However, they play Arizona 13 times after the All-Star Break.
When rivals respect you the way that the Diamondbacks and Giants respect the Dodgers, you start to realize just how good a team happens to be. This is shaping up to be a very interesting season, and all these teams know that to come out on top of the division, the road goes through Chavez Ravine.