The NL West has been fairly uncompetitive since the Dodgers have begun their reign, rattling off seven straight division titles with the potential to make it eight in 2020. The only real competition they have had in recent years has been the Diamondbacks and the Rockies. The Rockies forced them to a game 163 in 2018 and showed that the Dodgers were not invincible. The Diamondbacks even made the playoffs one year, only to be swept by the Dodgers.
Now, there are more teams in the mix than ever before with the Dodgers still holding their ground.
Let’s take a look at the way the division shakes out:
The Diamondbacks agreed to acquire center fielder Starling Marte from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, giving up two very solid prospects, shortstop Liover Peguero and right-handed pitcher Brennan Malone who was selected in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft. Quite the overpay, in my opinion. The primary point, though, is that the Diamondbacks have made moves to improve.
— Patrick Saunders (@psaundersdp) January 28, 2020
They acquired Zac Gallen in an excellent sneaky move at the 2019 trade deadline. They acquired Luke Weaver and Carson Kelly in the Paul Goldschmidt deal with both players looking like potential difference-makers. They also acquired a nice core of prospects by trading Zack Greinke to add to their already solid farm. They will be a .500 team at minimum with an outside chance to make the Wild Card Game.
The Padres are coming and they are coming fast. We have long discussed their excellent farm system and now these top-tier prospects are graduating to the big leagues. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Chris Paddack are just the beginning. They have bad contracts like Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers on the books, but they also have Manny Machado and the league minimum contracts down the road with their prospect core. Top pitching prospects Mackenzie Gore and Luis Patino could see the big leagues in 2020.
Mookie to the Padres?https://t.co/ueeWxGbQnP
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) January 24, 2020
Now, they are discussing Mookie Betts with the Boston Red Sox, a potentially game-changing move for them. Betts would be a game-changing move for anyone, but he would make the Padres incalculably better. The Padres are truly starting to blossom and could contend for the NL West by 2021 or 2022.
The Rockies are an absolute joke at this point in time. They had an awful 2019 and their star player, third baseman Nolan Arenado, wants out. He’s angry and might get dealt before the 2020 season begins. They have bad contracts doled out to relievers that continue to get blown up in the regular season. They have not done well as a front office.
The Rockies are going to finish fourth or fifth in this division with or without the play of Nolan Arenado.
The Giants, now led by former Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi, are on the right track to contention. It will take at least a few years for them to rise to that level, but Zaidi being at the helm makes up a few years of rebuilding for them. The Giants are not the Giants of the early 2010s anymore, but they likely will still be pestering the Dodgers again at some point this decade. However, it will not be this year or next.
Now, that leaves us with the Dodgers. The Dodgers have a case for being the best team in baseball and are easily a top-three club as currently constructed. They will win 100 games in 2020 or at least get close to that mark. They might even make the World Series. To get there, though, a big move seems to be the obvious move.
The Dodgers just have to pull the trigger.
The division is going to be there for the taking without much competition in 2020, but Los Angeles doesn’t celebrate division titles, they celebrate with championships down Figueroa. 2020 needs to be the year.