My division by division review of where teams stand at the season’s midpoint winds up with NL West. Each team in the division is addressed in order of the current standings. Remember the draft is Sunday, and trade deadline is July 30.
San Francisco Giants—The biggest surprise of the season, easily. Preseason they were picked to place either third or fourth in the division, and well out of contention. Instead they have the best record in all of baseball. They appear to have staying power. Buster Posey is having an MVP caliber season. I wonder how many Phillies Phans are looking at the Giants and realizing their fav team’s woes weren’t his doing. The one thing the Giants would like is a high end closer, but every one of their relievers has an ERA+ above 100.
Los Angeles Dodgers—They are still in contention despite Justin Turner and Corey Seager missing most of the season to date. Health is their greatest need. It would be unsurprising if they tried to buy, however, despite their payroll being $260M, well above the luxury tax threshold. They are the only team above the threshold. They managed to squeeze under it last year, so there’s no added penalty for repeat offenders of the de facto salary cap.
San Diego Padres—Unlike the Dodgers, their payroll ($206M) just might be a hindrance to making big moves at the deadline. If there is one, it likely comes with some creative accounting. The wild cards in the NL probably both come from this division, but the Padres are hoping for better than a single win or go home game. They certainly have the talent. Their problems have been underperforming by Hosmer, Profar, Caratinin, and Snell. Improvements by them could be the actual boost they need.
Colorado Rockies— They’re going nowhere. The most interesting Story-line for them will be where he goes and what the Rockies get in return. Not trading him would be GM malpractice as he’s a dot on the horizon as soon as the season is over. Jon Gray will be a popular topic of inquiry, as will Ryan McMahon. Other teams would no doubt like to ask about Charlie Blackmon too, but I’ve seen no rumors about him. The Rockies were the consensus cellar dwellers in preseason picks, but aren’t quite there thanks to being in the same division as…
Arizona Diamondbacks—They set records for futility in the first half. One was an all time record—a 23 game road losing streak. After ending April 14-12, they’ve gone 9-51. They’ve had a 13 game losing streak then topped it with a second, longer losing streak—17 games. A team that won 100 games in its second year of existence now knows what it feels like to be an expansion team. The question facing them is who to sell, not if they sell. They’ve put “NFS” on Ketel Marte, but that posture could just be a price upping maneuver. Eduardo Escobar, David Peralta, and the vagabond Asdrubal Cabrera are all good bets to find new homes this month.