Who's winning the MLB offseason in the NL West, the most competitive division in baseball?
With the MLB offseason around its midway point, it's a good time to see where teams are at heading into 2023. Here are my thoughts on each team in the NL West.
Arizona Diamondbacks PG Score: 8.5/10
The Diamondbacks get an 8.5, but it would have been really easy to turn it into a 9+. The main problem with the Diamondbacks is the amount of key moves they've made this offseason so far, or lack thereof. They managed a really good return on C/OF Daulton Varsho, who had a breakout 2022, acquiring OF Lourdes Gurriel and top catching prospect Gabriel Moreno from the Toronto Blue Jays. This gives the D-Backs some depth and experience in a young outfield, while also obtaining a key piece behind the dish. A lot of prospect analysts believe has a very high ceiling and could be a key piece if the Diamondbacks ever want to re-enter contention.
They also acquired veteran 3B Evan Longoria, which adds leadership and mentorship to one of the youngest teams in MLB. He will be a key piece in developing future stars like Corbin Carroll, Pavon Smith, and Gabriel Moreno into leaders in the clubhouse, and hopefully the nucleus of a winning culture built in Phoenix.
The move I would like for them to make? Trading Merrill Kelly before opening day. Kelly had a very solid 2022, and although he could build on that success in 2023, his age makes keeping him on the Diamondbacks a huge gamble. If they could put a package together for a younger, left-handed starting pitcher who projects to be a 2 or 3, this rotation would feel much more complete. Matthew Liberatore of the Cardinals would be a solid rotation piece. That trade would look good for both teams, while also giving the D-Backs a hometown kid to promote to fans, as Liberatore was raised in Phoenix.
Overall, it has been a very solid offseason for the Diamondbacks, as they also added outfielder Kyle Lewis, who could really impact this team if he can stay on the field. With a little more work on the starting rotation, the Diamondbacks may make some noise in the NL West as early as 2024.
Colorado Rockies PG Score: 7.25/10
The Rockies are a weird team. They know that no matter how good or bad they are, the fans will show up. Coors Field seems to have a top tier gameday atmosphere whether they are right in the middle of a playoff race or at the bottom of the league. They do not really have a plan set in place at the moment, but do have some fun, key pieces in a core likely making their debuts in 2023. The moves they did make did not really hurt or help the team. I am still just really confused as to why they threw money at Kris Bryant, but they did. The fans will always show up.
Los Angeles Dodgers PG Score: 7.25/10
Replacing Justin Turner with a cheaper option in JD Martinez is honestly a good move by the Dodgers. Adding Noah Syndergaard on a one-year deal is another good move, because we know what this team can do with underachieving pitchers. Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that this team did get worse with the loss of Trea Turner. Gavin Lux will make for a solid replacement at shortstop, but they lost a superstar player. I do not have the opportunity to say the Dodgers “lost the offseason” very often, so I guess I'm just taking advantage of it.
What move could the Dodgers have made? There is no reason the Dodgers should not have been in on Carlos Rodon. This starting pitching staff lost two breakout pieces from 2022 in Andrew Heaney and Tyler Anderson, and Clayton Kershaw is only getting older. All three of which happen to be left-handed. Even though you are looking to have a full season of Dustin May, Walker Buehler may not see the field this season. Rodon would have easily returned this team to being World Series favorites.
San Diego Padres PG Score: 8/10
They Padres made a puzzling acquisition this offseason by signing SS Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year, $280 million deal. Sure, Bogaerts is among the best hitting shortstops in Major League Baseball, but he has never been a real good defender, and at 30 years old, his age is concerning. They vastly overpaid for his services, and with the inevitable return of Fernando Tatis Jr., it makes me question whether they plan on re-signing 3B Manny Machado once he surely opts out of his deal in the 2023-’24 offseason.
Who else can this team really deal? After trading their farm away for Juan Soto at the 2022 trade deadline, the Padres have very little prospect capital remaining, meaning 2023 is their peak window. They now have four star players in their lineup in Soto, Machado, Bogaerts, and eventually Tatis Jr. However, their rotation is really underwhelming, headlined by Joe Musgrove, who received a hefty extension during the 2022 season. At this point, Ha-seong Kim is their most valuable piece to give up. He proved he is a very viable option as an everyday shortstop throughout the 2022 season. If the Padres really want to be competitive, sending Kim to possibly the Marlins in a deal for Pablo Lopez and Miguel Rojas, who could replace Kim as the backup shortstop, would really bolster this Padres rotation.
San Francisco Giants PG Score: 8.75/10
8.75? For a team that missed out on the #1 and #2 free agents in this class? Yup! I think there are bigger and better free agents in the 2023-’24 free agent class, including Shohei Ohtani, who are better “face of the franchise” material. With sneaky pickup Mitch Haniger and the gamble they are taking on Michael Conforto, they have a pretty good 2023 free agent class so far. They did lose Carlos Rodon, but if it were not for that, this offseason would have been a 9+.
What do they do now? In my own opinion, nothing. I believe in 4-5 years' time, both the Correa and Judge contracts will be looked back on as a mistake, and the Giants will have dodged a major financial bullet this offseason. Now you just sit back and wait for next year.
Check the Peanut Gallery tomorrow for my AL West offseason grades!