Short version: Just can’t see the Dodgers screwing this up. But there’s a little more to it than that – the D’Backs for example. Anyway here’s a question for each team and plenty of allegations to boot…
Arizona Diamondbacks - Lots of bearded dudes. Jason Kubel has fit in well. But where’s the talent to beat the magical Giants and the loaded-for-bear L.A. Dodgers? Of course one could draw a comparison between this team and the Orioles and conclude it’s got balance. One also could argue they did well in the off-season, trading for Martin Prado. BONUS QUESTION: Will Brandon McCarthy stage a big comeback after his scary injury? Hope so.
Colorado Rockies - As the Centennial State celebrates its 20th year of baseball (!) will it have anything to celebrate between the lines? Doubt it. Though the Rocks look pretty good on paper, they don’t look good enough, even with a liberal read, to pencil them in for the playoff hunt. But they are getting a special commemorative beer courtesy of Blue Moon, which is nice.
L.A. Dodgers - After their miserable sojourn in Boston, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez — not to mention Josh Beckett, he of the long haul — are going to be very motivated. Add that to the talent already here and you’ve got a team that should overwhelm the competition in the division. They do have some injuries to work through, to the aforementioned Crawford and to possible clubhouse cancer Zack Greinke. But the potential for morale killing personalities, I think, can be handled by Don Mattingly. Will Hyun-Jin Ryu pitch an entire inning with bubble gum on his hat? Playoffs.
San Diego Padres - You want to be optimistic about these guys and say they’ve got enough pitching, enough experience and enough talent to be in the mix (especially if the Giants underachieve). But you worry about the depth of the pitching staff – about whether Edinson Volquez is a fizzle and whether there’s enough power in the lineup. Can Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin and Chase Headley power them into contention? Ehhhhhhhhh. Doubt it.
San Francisco Giants - In many ways this franchise has to be regarded as the envy of all baseball. The Giants have balance, a great manager, great pitching and they’re nearly impossible to beat in short stints. But they have to get in, don’ they, and I’m just not sure the bats are there. Will the media rehabilitation of Timmy Lincecum presage the actual rehabilitation of Timmy Lincecum? I see a down-ish year.
Predicted Order of Finish:
* wild card hunt