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D-Back's Gibson is a difference-maker
Let's stipulate that sacrificing future talent for a quality bat would improve San Francisco's 2011 playoff prospects.
OK, I'll forego the political correctness. If the Giants land a serious offensive threat, forget about the NL West race; there wouldn't be one.
Without help, the Giants will have a slightly more difficult time winning the NL West—but the division title still is likely to remain in San Francisco.
The D-Backs can survive Drew's absence on offense, but they'll miss his defense. Willie Bloomquist, their next option, has played the position sparingly in his 10-year big league career, without distinction.
The rest of the West ranges from dreadful (Dodgers) to lackluster (Padres) to mediocre (Rockies).
San Francisco's vulnerabilities won't catch up to them until the postseason. Once there, however, watch out.
Atlanta has comparable pitching, slightly more offense and an inherent emotional edge against the Giants.
And if the Giants get past the Braves, there likely will be the Phillies.
I know, I know. The Phillies were awarded last year's title by acclamation before the playoffs even began. They're arrogant—perhaps a little too much so for their own good—and good pitching can control their offense.
But their pitching is awfully good, too. And the Giants, as currently constituted, would be hard-pressed to score runs against the gauntlet of Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt and Lee.