Can the San Francisco Giants make it back to the World Series in an odd year? More importantly, can they make it back to the postseason?
The Giants are coming off of a less than stellar offseason, one that saw them lose both Pablo Sandoval and Michael Morse while coming up short in their pursuit of Jon Lester. They replaced Sandoval and Morse with light-hitting options Casey McGehee and Nori Aoki, and brought back all of their starting pitchers in hopes that depth will lead to quality starts. The winter certainly didn’t go the way a lot of Giants fans hoped it would.
So how to the Giants stack up against their division rivals? Let’s take a team-by-team look:
Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers are still the team to beat in the west, even if their lineup looks a lot different this year. They got rid of Matt Kemp and Dee Gordon amongst others, but notably added Jimmy Rollins, Howie Kendrick, Brandon McCarthy, and others to round out their roster. Their lineup is still dangerous, and it’s backed by a pitching staff that is one of the deepest in the game. It’s easy to forget that the Dodgers quite easily outpaced the Giants for the division last year, and they’ve done nothing to make you think the road to the division title doesn’t go through Los Angeles again.
San Diego Padres: The busiest NL West team this winter, the Padres have radically remade their lineup by adding Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, and Derek Norris. That’s a powerful foursome that give the Padres the most dangerous lineup they’ve had in a long time. Add in the Padres already impressive pitching staff and you have a team that’s poised to make a run at the top of the division, right there with the Giants and Dodgers. They definitely have a more potent lineup than the Giants right now.
Arizona Diamondbacks: They outbid the Giants for Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas, a move which might haunt the Giants when they moan about their lack of power. But the D-Backs still lag behind the top teams in the division when it comes to talent and shouldn’t be much of a worry.
Colorado Rockies: They were quiet this offseason, and you have to wonder if they have enough to stay out of the cellar all year.
So the Giants seem to find themselves with two teams standing in the way of their playoff aspirations: the Dodgers and the Padres. It’s not a stretch to think they can be better than San Diego; it may take a while for so many new pieces to gel, and their lineup is not without injury and under-performance concerns. The Giants should be able to handle them.
It’ll come down to the Dodgers again, and right now the Giants are the weaker team on paper. But thankfully divisions aren’t won on paper, otherwise there’d be no need to even report to spring training. The Giants have beaten the odds before, and they’ll have to do it again in 2015.
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