The LA Dodgers have the players to win the division, but they need Manny Ramirez to win more than that.
Ramirez will sign with them, giving this team a necessary spark. What other teams will surprise and disappoint?
Surprise teams: Braves, Reds, Brewers
Disappointing teams: D-Backs, Astros
1. Phillies - The only thing they lost was Pat Burrell, and they replaced him with a better player in Raul Ibanez. They'll have more competition than last year, but that won't stop them from winning the division.
2. Mets - Last year they had one of the major's worst bullpens. That aspect of the team can only improve, as the team went out and signed both K-Rod and J.J. Putz. With the emergence of Mike Pelfrey and the re-signing of Oliver Perez, they should return to the playoffs.
3. Braves - They improved by signing Derek Lowe and Japanese pitcher Kenshin Kawakami, but their bullpen issues and lack of outfield depth will hurt them. If reports are true, the Braves will be the landing pad of free agent Ken Griffey Jr., helping their corner-outfield voids.
4. Marlins - They will compete, but it won't be enough—they will probably unload more players like Dan Uggla and Jorge Cantu. They don't have enough offense and pitching to stay in the division race.
5. Nationals - The Adam Dunn signing was big because they now have a true power hitter to replace Soriano's departure; however, that alone doesn't make up for their lack of pitching, namely in the bullpen.
1. Cubs - They did not lose much and now have one of the best rotations in baseball. Their offense will only improve with Milton Bradley in the lineup.
2. Brewers - I have them as a surprise team because they lost so much in the offseason. Yovani Gallardo will become their ace and help them stay in competition. Trevor Hoffman's signing helps the bullpen significantly.
3. Reds-This team is oozing with young stars and they'll be tough to beat on most nights. Unfortunately, it won't be enough to stay in the race.
4. Cardinals - They haven't done much to improve, but if Chris Carpenter can return to help them, then they can compete. A healthy Adam Wainwright will also be crucial for their success.
5. Astros - The Miguel Tejada controversy doesn't help. Their rotation issues behind ace Roy Oswalt won't help, either.
6. Pirates - The basement's become a familiar place for Pittsburgh, and it won't change this year.
1. Dodgers - If the Dodgers can sign Manny, look for them to repeat as division champs. Joe Torre has been a savior. Watch out for Matt Kemp, James Loney, Chad Billingsley, and Jonathan Broxton to have breakout seasons.
2. D-Backs - The offseason hasn't been kind to the club. The losses of Adam Dunn, Randy Johnson, and Orlando Hudson is going to hurt them tremendously.
Justin Upton and Conor Jackson will have nice years, Webb will have his usual ace year, but the Dodgers are too tough to beat.
3.Giants - Surprised to see them here? If you haven't heard of youngster Pablo Sandoval, you will after this year. He can bring stability to the lineup, and the signing of Randy Johnson only helps their young starting staff.
4.Rockies - They made out well in the Matt Holliday deal, receiveing young talent like Carlos Gonzalez, but dividends will not be paid in '09.
Their pitching problems will continue to hurt the team, and their lineup won't make up for the loss of Holliday's power numbers.
5. Padres - They've done nothing to try and improve. If they trade Jake Peavy, they can write this year off.