MLB: NL West Preview

PC: JCookFisher

Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is quickly approaching. With that brings about joy, anticipation, and World Series aspirations for all 32 teams. Within the National League West lies four teams vying to knock out the reigning National League Champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

Let’s go ahead and jump right into our NL West Preview for 2019.

Chaos in ‘Frisco

San Francisco is in the deepest of waters in the NL West. The Giants missed out on signing superstar free-agent Bryce Harper and have yet to make any other big splashes this offseason.

Giants’ fans are leaning on the fact that Madison Bumgarner is returning injury free coming into 2019. Not to mention Johnny Cueto will be unavailable this season for San Francisco due to his Tommy John surgery which was announced at the end of the 2018 season.

With a decline in production from Giants’ lineup mainstays like Bumgarner and Buster Posey—currently recovering from hip surgery—it’s likely that we will not be seeing San Francisco playing in October.

Declining Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks were first place in the NL West through September. Then it was all downhill from there, managing to miss the 2018 postseason altogether. The offseason has not given Arizona fans much hope.

The team let Patrick Corbin and outfielder A.J. Pollock walk in free-agency, the latter signing with the rival the Los Angeles Dodgers. It looks like the Diamondbacks will be vying for the last place in the NL West.

Big Splash in San Diego

The San Diego Padres made a splash signing Manny Machado this off-season. The 26-year-old superstar shortstop/third baseman was one of the biggest free-agents in recent history.

San Diego fans can rejoice knowing they will retain Machado during the prime of his career as he signed an unprecedented 10-year, $330 million contract. The Padres’ infield is laced with talent with Eric Hosmer at first, Ian Kinsler at second, and Machado hovering between shortstop and third.

There’s no doubt the ball will be flying out of Petco Park in San Diego, but unfortunately for the Padres, their meager pitching staff will play a part in that. Expect the 2019 season to be a year of growth and optimism in San Diego, but the Padres will be the second runner-up in the NL West.

Nolan is Rollin’ in the Dough in Denver

The Colorado Rockies made one of the best decisions in their franchise’s history by not allowing Nolan Arenado to hit free agency. They signed the 27-year-old third baseman to a contract extension to the tune of 8-years and $260 million.

Arenado is not only a perennial gold-glove third baseman but also holds one of the most lethal bats in Major League Baseball. A move like this can bring a team together, especially seeing as how Arenado is absolutely beloved in the Colorado community.

The Rockies came just short of clinching the NL West when they lost a tie-breaker against the Los Angeles Dodgers last year. That was before faltering in the NLDS against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Rockies are looking to finally upend the six-time defending NL West champion Dodgers and Rockies’ fans should be optimistic coming into 2019.

Ending a 31-year-old Drought in Los Angeles

Dodger’s Stadium has held back-to-back World Series celebrations on their home turf. The team losing against the Houston Astros in 2017, and again in 2018 against the Boston Red Sox. Unlike most fan bases that would be ecstatic with back-to-back World Series appearances, Dodger fans haven’t tasted that championship champagne since 1988.

It’s clear the Dodgers’ front office felt this pressure as they tried to make a late push in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, coming up short. Their current roster is nearly identical to their 2018 team. The addition of A.J. Pollock who, if healthy, can provide a boost to their outfield after Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp were traded to Cincinnati.

Will the third time be the charm for the Dodgers?

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