No One Has Won the NL West Just Yet

Seems dumb to do this now, because as I’ve said forever, the season doesn’t start in December, or January, or February. Johnny Cueto and Chris Davis and Justin Upton and Alex Gordon and Yoenis Cespedes and Jason Heyward and Mike Leake and tons of other guys are still out there, not to mention whatever comes via trade. What you see today is not what you’ll see in four months.

But, since the Diamondbacks are blowing up the sport by adding Zack Greinke and trading for Shelby Miller, it’s probably worth remembering that no matter how many “winning the offseason” (or, alternatively, “Dodgers are sitting on their hands”) headlines you read, what Arizona has done is to make themselves a better team. It’s not the same thing as the best team.

Look, I can’t argue that Greinke doesn’t help them. He does, a LOT. And while there’s a ton of viewpoints on how good Miller is, he’s an upgrade. Patrick Corbin will be healthy for a full season. Robbie Ray merely has to be a fourth starter, not a second. Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock are both elite, and David Peralta is the best player you don’t know. It’s a better team. They’re a contender now.

But it’s also worth remembering that while it’s probably more exciting to be a Diamondback fan than a Dodger fan this week, that’s not the same thing as handing over the division. Look at the FanGraphs projected WAR for 2016 including Miller:

nlwest_WAR

Obvious caveats: WAR isn’t perfect. These projections like Peralta less than I do. They hate Miller. They’re possibly too high on Yasiel Puig, though maybe too low on Andre Ethier, and they assume a three-win season from Joc Pederson.

You get the point, though. Arizona probably has the two best non-Buster Posey players in the division in Goldschmidt & Pollock, and one of the three best starting pitchers in Greinke (along with Clayton Kershaw & Madison Bumgarner). But they still have a ton of holes to fill.

They’re better, no doubt. The Dodgers are worse off swapping Greinke for Hisashi Iwakuma, no doubt, and now appear unlikely to end up with Aroldis Chapman. Lots of time left in the winter, though. This division has become a lot tighter over the last week. But as we saw with San Diego last year, “winning the offseason” doesn’t actually guarantee you anything.

About Mike Petriello

Mike Petriello
Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.