NL West: Buy, Sell, Or Keep On With That Rebuild?

It took every last second of the season prior to the All-Star break for the Los Angeles Dodgers to end up on top of the heap. This in spite of trips to the disabled list by Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, and Justin Turner and the loss for the season of shortstop Corey Seager. With a squad that’s coming off a scintillating World Series loss, but also seemingly aging in front of our eyes, do the Dodgers pony up for the big-name, gonna-be-free-agent-so don’t-know-if-you’re-gonna-re-sign-him guy?

Also known as Manny Machado?

If you know you can sign Machado long-term after the season, absolutely. He’s only 26. He’ll probably win at least one MVP before he’s done. He says he wants to win. The Dodgers are a proven winner. I’ve never heard him squawk once about playing on the Orioles and they’re terrible. And, if you win a World Series with him, then maybe he sticks around to try for two.

And if you don’t trade for him and you hold on to Yusniel Diaz, the up-and-coming outfielder, then that’s okay too. Because right now, the Dodgers have Enrique “kike” Hernandez, whom I love even though he can’t hit better than .230, Joc Pederson, whose .260 average earlier this year was cause for celebration, Yasiel Puig who keeps running into walls unnecessarily, and Matt Kemp, who’s a candidate for comeback player of the year, but who is also slowly reminding us of what his weakness has always been: Sliders outside.

Either way, you win. The pitching staff has looked really good the last month. Maybe you win in the short term and the long term by standing pat.

Arizona’s up-and-down year is on a down stroke again, even though Paul Goldschmidt has returned to form. Their hitting is about the same as the Dodgers, but their pitching isn’t, especially in the last month. Hard to sell D-backs fans on a sale/prep for next year couple of trades, but it’s what’s best for the franchise. Maybe they get lucky and drop some dead weight and pick up wins in the process.

I still like Colorado to finish ahead of them.

And that’s because, with that lineup, the Rockies are never out of a game. They grind out at-bats and Nolan Arenado is a leader in every facet of the game. Plus, when you play half your games at Coors Field, you’re going to have eight guys hitting better than .270.

Pitching is the problem. Isn’t it always? Although in the last month, Antonio Senzatela has looked like he could make a nice fifth starter with his 94 mph fastball. He has to do a better job of getting hitters to miss that pitch however. The Rockies have a couple of minor leaguers who might be ready for a call up. Shortstop Brendan Rodgers and relief pitcher Jesus Tinoco fared well in the Future’s Game.

I liked this team early, and I still do. If some other team wants to offer something stupid, then take it. But, otherwise, I would stand pat.

Standing pat might not be an option in San Francisco. The Giants have done exactly what they hoped they would do with the loss of Madison Bumgarner at the beginning of the year: Stay at .500. It’s even more impressive considering starting pitchers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, second baseman Joe Panik and reliever Hunter Strickland got hurt.

The biggest problem is they’re tap dancing all over the line where the luxury tax is. Considering they’re two games over .500, do they risk the tax and hope for another limp-in-to-the-playoffs-and-ride-Madison-Bumgarner World Series run? I don’t think this team has much going for it and its farm system is ranked 27th by minorleagueball.com. So if you’re SF, you have two choices: One more shot at magic or tear it down and rebuild. I say tear it down, and be very active in the off-season once they’ve gotten rid of some contracts.

And finally, the Padres. San Diego showed signs of life there for a second. Turned out it was a faulty EKG wire. They are rebuilding and they need to keep on with the plan. I like outfielder Wil Myers the more I see him and the same goes for catcher Austin Hedges. I’m afraid Eric Hosmer woke up about a month ago and realized he was in San Diego and things weren’t going to get better. He’s .152 since. If he stinks any worse, the coroner’s gonna show up, or the Padres might ship him off for prospects. That’s probably not a bad idea. Too bad. I was kind of hoping he was going to lead them to respectability. They need starting pitching. Let’s see who develops as the team calls up minor leaguers. Joey Lucchesi could be a pillar of their rotation for years to come. Stay with the plan.

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