Los Angeles Dodgers
If you’re to ask me the favorite in 2019 for the NL pennant, I would say the Dodgers. This organization is loaded with talent at nearly every position, not only in the majors but also the minors. Not to mention that the luxury tax reset is beneficial for this offseason. The pitching staff may need some help if the offseason goes a certain way, but retaining Clayton Kershaw is obviously a win for Los Angeles. The lineup is full of young and proven hitters, even if it appears that Machado is going elsewhere. Don’t forget about the return of Corey Seager. While anything can happen in this game, the Dodgers are well-positioned for further success in 2019.
San Francisco Giants
Poaching new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi is a huge coup for the Giants. Not only did they land one of the highly-regarded front executives in the game, San Francisco got him to leave the Dodgers. For a classic rivalry, this is a great development. And I like a good rivalry. From a player perspective, Zaidi has work to do this offseason. For one, the Giants should consider trading Madison Bumgarner. In fact, it is
probably time for a classic rebuild in the Bay Area. Unless Los Angeles suffers an unlikely collapse in 2019, there isn’t much hope for other teams in the NL West.
Why does it feel like Marwin Gonzalez will end up a Rockie by the end of the offseason? The Rockies, much like the Pirates, confuse me. For a club that needed a jolt offensively last season, their “big” acquisition was signing former Colorado great Matt Holliday to a minor league contract. And the whole Ian Desmond situation is bizarre along with promoting your top position prospects to only be bench players. Still, Colorado has talent to make noise in the NL West, especially if the Dodgers get off to another poor start next year. Their bullpen should be better as regression should take place for a few pitchers. Regardless if they’ll resign free-agent reliever Adam Ottavino, the lineup should be this club’s first priority in the offseason.
If it wasn’t for a September collapse, Arizona would’ve likely qualified for the 2018 postseason. There are many questions to answer in the desert this offseason as this core may have ran its course. A.J. Pollock and Corbin are free-agents, and it is unlikely the Diamondbacks retain both players. They may also have doubts committing a long-term contract to an oft-injured player like Pollock, who is already 30-years old. Paul Goldschmidt only has one year left on his contract, and Arizona would like to shed the $104.5 million left on Zack Greinke‘s contract. There are useful players on this roster under club control for a while, so a complete rebuild may not be necessary.
San Diego Padres
Another rebuilding club that could take a few steps forward in 2019. Young talent like Fernando Tatis Jr., Francisco Mejia, and Luis Urias should start to make their mark in San Diego soon. Top pitching prospect MacKenzie Gore is likely another year or two away from the majors, but he has impressed in his first full season of minor league ball. While the Eric Hosmer contract still confuses me, it shouldn’t hamper future payroll as most of the talent on the roster is under club control. Don’t be surprised if the Padres sign a veteran pitcher to help stabilize the starting rotation in 2019.