The 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants are the class of Major League Baseball until enough games are played in 2011 to argue otherwise. That is the reality created by winning the Fall Classic—everyone else is a paper tiger while San Francisco is the real McCoy.
Everyone else must speak in conditionals; the Giants get to use the present tense while wearing a winner's smile.
Of course, don't try to convince Philadelphia, Boston or New York of this fact.
The Phillies and Red Sox will tell you the grin is irrelevant since '10 is in the books and their respective offseasons push both clubs ahead of the Bay Area's favorite sons. Meanwhile, there is always shrill insistence coming from the New York Yankees on the subject, but their tortured logic will have to lean heavily on perennial arrogance—the Bronx Bombers weren't the best in 2010 and have had one of the more underwhelming pinstriped winters in recent memory.
Thankfully, I can ignore that fracas and turn to a much more settled point—SF is definitely the class of the NL West.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have been busy in the offseason, but it's been much ado about nothing to date. Their most substantial additions have been paying through the nose to take Juan Uribe from the Gents and signing dynamite set-up man, Matt Guerrier.
Neither maneuver seems that profound nor does all the Dodger activity taken as a whole.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have shown a similar flurry of transactions and they've brought in a more impressive stable of players—Melvin Mora, Xavier Nady, JJ Putz and Geoff Blum so far. But the Snakes had far more ground to make up on the division than the Bums. The imminent (or official) departures of Adam LaRoche and Brandon Webb further mitigate the net impact of the newbies.
The Colorado Rockies' big splash was bringing Ty Wigginton aboard and re-signing Jorge De La Rosa.
And then there are those poor, poor San Diego Padres.
The Friars lost one of the best players in the Show to Beantown (first baseman Adrian Gonzalez) and got prospects in return.
In other words, San Francisco's closest competition from last season was basically eviscerated and that void largely remains.
The Rox could be close if everything breaks right and the Giants hit some speed bumps, but even Colorado could use another plus-arm in the rotation. The Bums, D-Backs and Fathers all need more help than that, but almost all of these also-rans could tilt the scales with one big trade.
With that in mind, here are six trades that would tilt the balance of power in the National League West (in no particular order).