If the N.L. East has been the league's most confusing division, and the Central the most pathetic, then the N.L. West has clearly been the most boring. The Padres or Giants win the division by a close-but-not-exciting margin, sneak into the playoffs, and get swept by a better team in the first round. But at last, hope emerges. Exciting young talent in San Diego, Arizona and (eventually) Los Angeles portends brighter days ahead on the West Coast. Somewhere, Tupac is smiling.
If Jake Peavy ever stops rubbing IcyHot on his crotch in an effort to be Roger Clemens, and actually learns how to pitch with two strikes, he can become the second best pitcher in baseball. Even failing that, he's in the top ten at worst. The rotation behind Peavy is solid, with Chris Young, Greg Maddux, Clay Hensley and Gouty McDiabetic ("Hi, I'm Wilford Brimley, and I have diabetes.") The offense is not very good, but the additions of Marcus Giles and Kevin Kouzmanoff should help. Trevor Hoffman anchors a stable bullpen, which can afford to lose Scott Linebrink in a trade to bring in another bat.
Craig Counsell can go fuck himself. And that's all I have to say about that.
Jason Schmidt was a good signing, given the insanity of the current pitching market, but the rest of the off-season was a disaster that seems to be going largely unnoticed in the media. Juan "The Out-Maker" Pierre? Luis Gonzalez? They're holding up giving big league at-bats to Loney, Ethier and Kemp for these piles of human garbage? The Dodgers have the resources to make improvements during the season, which is the only reason I'm not picking the Giants to finish ahead of them.
Is there anyone outside the Bay Area who thinks the Giants wouldn't have been better off cutting ties with Barry Bonds for good? The team obviously had second thoughts after initially agreeing to terms, and they should have listened to their doubt. Sure, they'd be short a power bat in about 120 games, but they would be free of the distractions, bad karma and bad defense Bonds brings to the table. How long until he claims Matt Cain raped him, and his seminal fluid contained "the clear"?
When contraction talks pop up again in a few years, allow me to humbly submit the Rocks for consideration. Discussion of altitude and failing curveballs and humidors has grown tiresome. Close up shop and admit their best shot wasn't good enough in Denver. Denny Neagle could perform his hilarious patented train whistle sound at the closing ceremonies of Coors Field.