It's a beautiful morning in Columbus, Ohio.
I wake up and check my phone—like always—and have a message from one of my buddies, "The Phillies just punched their ticket to the 2011 World Series. H2o plus Lee. Wow!"
Immediately, I felt concern for my San Francisco Giants, but after clearing out my head I thought to myself, "Didn't we beat all these guys already?"
I settled down and realized that the Phillies needed to make a move like this. They lost one of their best hitters in Jayson Werth, and their lineup last year looked old and slow.
They will only be older in 2011.
I will give credit to the Phillies in making this acquisition, as nobody in the world saw it coming. Everyone—including myself—thought Lee would take the money and go to New York.
Cliff Lee is showing us that it is not all about the money. According to ESPN.com, he left over $30 million on the table by choosing Philadelphia as his destination.
Now, let's take a look at the Giants.
The four arms that beat the Phillies and Rangers are still kicking around—and younger than their Philadelphia counterparts—in Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, and Bumgarner.
Yes, Juan Uribe (traitor) left for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but they did sign Miguel Tejada who has shown to be a better overall hitter than Uribe.
There are rumblings of the Giants trying to get Edgar Renteria back into a utility man role.
San Fran will have the same lineup as last year, with more experience.
Buster Posey will now have a complete year, so expect him to be even better.
The team wild card is Pablo Sandoval: Will he be able to return to his 2009 form, or will he be demoted to Fresno?
The Giants still have an amazing bullpen to eat up innings when trouble arises, and one of the best closers in the game in Brian Wilson.
Brad Lidge is also a good closer, but the edge goes to Wilson. Some people say Halladay and Lee don't need bullpens because they pitch complete games frequently, but come playoff baseball, those arms aren't the same as in opening day.
The Giants are clear favorites in the NL West, especially now that there is no Adrian Gonzales in San Diego. The biggest threat to the Giants will be the Rockies and the Dodgers, with both of them having decent starting rotations.
The Phillies will have a tougher time making it out of their division. The Mets were injury-plagued last year, so expect them to battle the Phillies in 2011. The Marlins always surprise, especially with them having one the best pitchers in baseball in Josh Johnson.
Nobody really expects anything out of the Nationals (laugh).
Now, the Braves are a different story. The have an opportunity to match up and battle really well, but the edge still goes to the Phillies in winning the division.
Everyone's knee-jerk reaction is to start crowning the Phillies as the favorites out of the National League, but let them just relax.
The World Champions are the San Francisco Giants: These same Giants that beat the four "aces."
The Giants have their own quadruplet of "aces," and they will be very motivated.
San Francisco has shown they thrive in the underdog role, and they will prove it again in 2011.