This division has always been close: either it's between two teams, three teams, etc. This year, all teams in the division: Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Rockies, Giants, and the Padres have new looks on their team.
So the question for this year is: Who's going to clinch it this time?
This is probably the most difficult division to predict but here is my prediction for the 2010 season of the NL West Standings.
Don't get me wrong: the Padres have made decent additions to their roster such as Matt Stairs and Jon Garland and Jerry Hairston Jr. But without a .300 hitting Giles and no Peavy, this team is definitely out of the race.
Even with Adrian Gonzalez, hitting 40 HR in a pitcher's ballpark and had no protection in the lineup, there's no other real offensive threat. The closest player? Chase Headley.
They do have an all star closer in Bell, but there's no pitcher that can be the ace of the rotation. Overall, this team will be a slightly improved team from last season.
Bad news first: Russell Martin's going to need some time to get back on track. Manny Ramirez is going to be a distraction, saying that this will be his last year in LA. Another Brett Favre? Maybe.
Loney and Kemp are consistent players, but they lost a gold glover and okay hitter in Orlando Hudson. Losing speed with Juan Pierre will hurt, too.
Not only that, they will struggle in their pitching rotation, with only Billingsley and Kershaw and Padilla to lead the way. Padilla's inconsistent, and they lost a quality No. 4 arm in Jon Garland. All in all, LA might have one of their down years.
Yes, they WILL beat the Dodgers. Webb will start on the DL this season, but Haren and Jackson's still there. Upton and Reynolds both signed to long term deals, so the distractions are away.
Justin Upton improves every single year: look for him to do the same thing again this year. Mark Reynolds is a 40-20 guy. Not only does he have great speed with power, he's a great fielder.
To help these two, the D-Backs signed Adam Laroche, a power hitting left handed hitter. Chris Young will have a rebound back year, and with Webb returning, the D-Backs will be a better team this year.
Jim Tracy's the man to watch for this season. After taking NL Manager of the Year Honors, who knows how he will do in his first full season?
But we still know that he can bring out the best in his team. Helton provides veteran leadership, along with a .300 average and a gold glove. In the outfield, Fowler and Gonzalez provide speed, and Hawpe is a above average power hitter.
Eric Young showed some abilities he has, and Rockies fans better be excited about him. Barmes, Stewart, Tulowitzki has pop in the infield. Iannetta and Olivo have power, as they share time.
The bench includes a powerful left handed bat in Jason Giambi along with Mora who can play multiple positions.
Hammel, Jimenez, Francis, Cook, and De La Rosa make up a solid rotation. Betancourt's a reliable arm in the 'pen. This team will compete in the division and the Wild Card.
They have one of the best pitching rotations in Major League Baseball. Linceum and Cain lead the rotation, and Zito and Sanchez helps, too. Consistent Brian Wilson rounds out the 'pen.
Bengie Molina knows the pitchers, and he can blast 20 HRs. Because of the lack of offense, they added DeRosa and Huff. Huff isn't that productive but can provide a bat from the bench and be the DH in inter-league games.
DeRosa can play all positions, and he has some pop in his bat. Aaron Rowand provides veteran leadership. Pablo Sandoval: a .300 hitter, 30 HR guy, and a great glove.
Everyone also seems to forget about the middle of the infield: Renteria and Sanchez. Remember, Sanchez lead the league in batting average only a couple of years ago. They will clinch this division.