1. Arizona Diamondbacks (93-69)
2007 Season: 1st Place (90-72) – Lost in NLCS
Best Off-Season Move: Acquired Danny Haren
Why They’ll Be Better: With Haren in the mix the “Baby Backs” make a case for the most solid starting rotation in the National League. Their entire team oozes with young talent, including Chris Young, who will come into his own this season. Expect a possible 40-40 season from him.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (87-75)
2007 Season: 3rd Place (82-80)
Best Off-Season Move: Signed Andruw Jones
Why They’ll Be Better: Andruw Jones is out to prove himself after a downer year. A risky move, but will put the Dodgers offense over the hump. Watch out for James Loney in ’08 – expect a breakout campaign for the young lefty first baseman.
3. San Diego Padres (82-80)
2007 Season: 2nd Place (89-74)
Best Off-Season Move: Signing Mark Prior
Why They’ll Be Worse: Lineup is very weak; I am sorry, but Jim Edmonds is not the answer. Jake Peavy and Chris Young make up one of the best 1-2 punches in not only the NL, but the MLB, and Maddux is still servicable, however Randy Wolf and Mark Prior (I like that move) are too injury-prone and both will likely miss a chunk of the season. But if those two stay healthy – watch out.
4. Colorado Rockies (78-84)
2007 Season: 2nd Place (90-73) – NL Champs, Lost in World Series
Best Off-Season Move: None
Why They’ll Be Worse: The Rockies got very hot at the end of the season, and even hotter in the playoffs. Can they carry over that fiery momentum over the cold wintry off-season into the ’08 campaign? Blockbuster says no. They did nothing to improve themselves in the off-season. Expect Jeff Francis to continue his success, but the rest of the staff is mediocre at best. Holliday and co. will carry them with their bats as far as they can.
5. San Francisco Giants (76-86)
2007 Season: 5th Place (71-91)
Best Off-Season Move: Signed Aaron Rowand
Why They’ll Be Better: With the Bonds’ circus out of town the Giants can now focus on re-building and playing the game of baseball without, well, the circus. Although they may have overpaid Rowand, I think it is a good move for them. Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum will develop more into the eventual aces they will be in the future, and Barry Zito can only get better after last year. Right?