League-wide, the hot stove season has failed to heat up. The San Francisco Giants, though, have been the exception.
Coming off a 98-loss season, the front office at 24 Willie Mays Plaza has tried to do everything in its power to avoid the misery of being one of the worst teams in baseball again.
Bobby Evans and Brian Sabean have been aggressive this offseason as they’ve acquired Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen via trade, and now the outfield is set with the under-the-radar signing of Austin Jackson.
But is it enough to compete with Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Colorado Rockies? Are they better than the upstart San Diego Padres again?
From top to bottom, the National League West is the most loaded division in baseball. So, as of now, where do the Giants stand?
5. San Diego Padres (12-7 vs Giants in 2017)
The Padres were assembled on young talent surrounding Wil Myers. Winning 71 games a season ago is a step in the right direction for a franchise building through the MLB draft. Bringing Chase Headley back to San Diego is the loudest move they’ve made in an otherwise quiet offseason. Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot are two youngsters to keep an eye on, but other than that, the Padres are looked destined to chill in the cellar in 2018.
4. Arizona Diamondbacks (12-7 vs Giants in 2017)
What a special 2017 the Diamondbacks had. Even if it did end abruptly with the Dodgers sweeping them out of the playoffs. J.D. Martinez gave this team a jolt last season, but it looks like the slugger is taking his 45 jacks and 104 runs batted in elsewhere. Still, Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb can carry their offense. Zack Greinke (3.20 ERA), Robbie Ray (2.89 ERA) and Patrick Corbin (4.03 ERA), who were a combined 46-25 with 611 strikeouts, allow the D-Backs to boast a solid top-half of the rotation. However, the bullpen is a bit of a question mark and that may hold them back a bit.
3. San Francisco Giants
Their 2017 was an anomaly and with their offseason additions, the Giants have the pieces to contend for a Wild Card spot. A couple of extra bullpens arms are needed and possibly another starter if Ty Blach and Chris Stratton can’t anchor the back end of the rotation. But, so far, the Giants have improved in their outfield, third base and have a much better-looking lineup on paper. Expect the Giants to get off to a better start and actually make some noise in 2018.
2. Colorado Rockies (12-7 vs Giants in 2017)
If the Rockies pitching can hold up over 162 games, look out, this team has the potential to do some major damage in 2018. No need to question what they can do at the plate, with four guys who hit at least 24 bombs a season ago. Heck, Nolan Arenado, Mark Reynolds, Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon combined to hit as many homers as the Giants did as a team (128). Wade Davis will hold down the fort for a bullpen that has had its issues. On paper, the Rockies look scary. And that could stymie San Francisco’s otherwise impressive offseason.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (11-7 vs Giants in 2017)
Maybe the Dodgers don’t get over their devastating Game 7 loss in the World Series. That’s a big maybe. Outside of the Houston Astros, the Dodgers have the most stacked team in baseball, led by all-world pitcher Clayton Kershaw. Alex Verdugo is the next can’t-miss prospect expected to help this club that won 104 games a season ago, and even though Cody Bellinger may regress, who’s going to stop the Dodgers from winning their sixth-straight NL West title? Even in the Giants’ wildest dreams, they’re still grabbing a wild card after finishing behind LA.
Bonta Hill of 95.7 The Game can be heard from 12-3 on the Greg Papa Show. Born and bred in San Francisco, he is a sports junkie who loves to sit in the lab (home), eats breakfast food for dinner, and has a newfound love for tequila. Follow at your own risk on Twitter @BontaHill.