Originally Posted by Bronco LB 52
Great post Drek
However, I take exception to your statement the NL West is weak. I don't think there's a bad organization outside of Colorado in the division.
The Dodgers are coming off a wild card season, they have an influx of top notch young talent coming up from their farm system and Ned Colletti has the financial backing to fill holes with veterans. San Francisco has been competitive for the last decade and even though Brian Sabean has taken an unconventional approach with veterans, his strategy has worked time after time. San Diego has a weak farm system, but they have an All-Star front office with Kevin Towers, Sandy Alderson, Paul DePodesta, Grady Fuson, etc. The Padres have enjoyed three straight successful seasons since moving into their new ballpark. Arizona has a bright future with a bright GM in Josh Byrnes and possibly the best collection of youth in baseball. They may make a run at the NL West this year.
This is the third toughest division outside of the AL Central and East and easily the NL's strongest.
I don't think the NL West's weakness has anything to do with the organizations not being capable (except the Rockies) but that they're in various stages of transition and there isn't an elite team in the bunch. It makes for a very competitive division, which is good for the Rox.
LA has a very bright future. Their pitching is getting long in the tooth but they have some amazing positional prospects in the pipe. They'll be one of the best every day lineups for years to come.
The Padres have a great front office that make smart moves and find diamonds in the rough. Their farm is a little bare and I think the Barfield trade was a bad move but they have young talent at 1B, SS, 3B, and C, a host of capable MLB level OFs, and good pitching especially in the 'pen. They don't need a lot of young guys stepping up and so can restock the farm while the current roster competes.
I expect Arizona to improve significantly with Byrnes running the show. He's a savvy guy and they have great positional prospects through every level of the farm but particularly at the higher levels ready to give them a ROY candidate season after season in the near future. If Byrnes can add some pitching around Webb they'll be well on their way to being a serious threat for the pennant.
I don't have similar faith in SF though. Outside of Matt Cain they have nothing down on the farm, largely because Sabean gave away 1st round picks to sign veterans so many years in a row now. They got Zito, but at a crazy price, and are going to overpay Bonds as well. They'll semi-compete for another year or two but soon they'll lose much of their current positional players to retirement and simply don't have the farm guys to replace anyone. They'll have Sabean go through another FA shopping spree, but again on a budget and he'll bring in more mediocre veterans. With the current setup they'll never elevate themselves beyond a slightly above or below .500 team.
The Rockies, if managed right, could exert the biggest home field advantage in sports to take control of the division, as the same style of defense and pitching that prevents extra men on base in Colorado would lead to amazing success in the bigger parks that SD and LA play in, their two biggest challenges if they were to become a legit competitor.