Much like last season, the NL West in 2014 looks to be a story of the Dodgers and everybody else. Los Angeles and it's Magic Johnson-fueled payroll won the division by 11 games in 2013 and no one really expects much different this year.
The finishing order of the other four teams looks to be up in the air, however. None of them seems to look like a world-beater, but there's not a doormat in the group either, the finishing order from two through five will likely come down to a combination of injuries and luck, with the former putting Arizona already at a disadvantage.
Here's a look at how the NL West squads spent the offseason and kicked off 2014:
Arizona Diamondbacks (1-3)
Key Additions: OF Mark Trumbo, RHP Addison Reed, RHP Bronson Arroyo, LHP Oliver Perez
In separate deals this winter, Arizona GM Kevin Towers shipped young southpaw Tyler Skaggs to Los Angeles and third baseman Matt Davidson to Chicago for Mark Trumbo, who is playing in the D'Backs' outfield, and closer Addison Reed because, to paraphrase Bill Simmons, any time you can trade a pair of top 100 prospects for a relief pitcher and a guy with a sub-.300 OBP, you have to do it.
On the bright side, they did get rid of Heath Bell and his contract and added Bronson Arroyo to their rotation, a bigger addition that it looked like at the time given their injuries.
Disabled List: OF Cody Ross (15-day, hip), LHP Matt Reynolds (15-day, torn UCL), RHP Daniel Hudson (15-day, torn UCL), RHP David Hernandez (60-day, torn UCL), LHP Patrick Corbin (60-day, torn UCL)
Aside from Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin was the player the Diamondbacks could least afford to lose, and they've lost him for the season due to Tommy John surgery, leaving their rotation paper thin. Hernandez is almost as big a loss for their bullpen, as he was set to handle eighth inning duties.
Previous Week: Arizona lost a pair to the Dodgers to open the season in Australia and have split their first two stateside games with the Giants, leaving them at 1-3.
Next Week: Two more with the Giants at Chase Field before embarking on their first road trip of the season, not counting Sydney, to Colorado and San Francisco.
Los Angeles Dodgers (4-0)
It was mostly a case of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," for the Dodgers in the offseason. Sure there were some cosmetic changes, switching Ricky Nolasco and Chris Capuano for Dan Haren and Paul Maholm, trading Mark Ellis for Justin Turner, but the Dodgers team you'll see in 2014 is essentially the one that ran away with the division in 2013.
Disabled List: RHP Josh Beckett (15-day, thumb), RHP Chad Billingsley (15-day, torn UCL), LHP Scott Elbert (60-day, torn UCL), OF Matt Kemp (15-day, ankle), LHP Clayton Kershaw (15-day, back), RHP Brian Wilson (15-day, elbow)
Like the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers have lost their ace to injury early in the season; unlike the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers still have Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Greinke at the top of their rotation. There will be an issue finding players playing time when Matt Kemp returns and re-joins Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig in the LA outfield, but these are the problems you have when you have a payroll pushing a quarter billion dollars.
Previous Week: The Dodgers took a pair from the Diamondbacks in Australia and have won their first two against the Padres in San Diego for a 4-0 start.
Next Week: They have one more in San Diego today before returning home to Dodger Stadium to face the Giants and Tigers.
San Diego Padres (0-2)
Key Losses: RHP Anthony Bass, OF/IF Logan Forsythe, RHP Luke Gregerson, 1B Jesus Guzman, OF Mark Kotsay, RHP Jason Marquis
With the additions of Joaquin Benoit and Alex Torres to the Padres' bullpen, the Smith-for-Gregerson trade makes a lot of sense for San Diego, bolstering their outfield while keeping their 'pen strong. The losses of Bass and Marquis from the rotation have opened the door for youngsters Tyson Ross and Robbie Erlin to get regular starts at the MLB level.
Disabled List: RHP Josh Johnson (15-day, forearm), RHP Casey Kelly (15-day, torn UCL), LHP Cory Luebke (60-day, torn UCL), OF Cameron Maybin (15-day, biceps), OF Carlos Quentin (15-day, knee), RHP Joe Wieland (15-day, elbow)
Look at that, Josh Johnson is on the DL, he's pitched just 56 games over the last three seasons and is out until at least May this year. He should be a boon to the Padres' rotation when he returns, as should Maybin and Quentin be to the offense when they come back.
Previous Week: The Padres have dropped two of their first three games to the Dodgers at Petco Park.
Next Week: The Padres' finish their season-opening series with the Dodgers today before embarking on a road trip that will take them to Miami and Cleveland.
San Francisco Giants (1-1)
Key Additions: RHP Tim Hudson, LHP David Huff, 1B/OF Michael Morse
Key Losses: RHP Chad Gaudin, RHP Jose Mijares, OF Andres Torres, LHP Barry Zito
In the offseason, the Giants exchanged one former Oakland ace for another, and it is a good thing to see Tim Hudson in the division. If there's one opposing pitcher you can count on to come to Coors Field and implode, it's Tim Hudson. The 38-year-old has a 7.41 ERA in six career starts in Denver, allowing 43 hits and six home runs in 34 innings. Having him in the Giants' rotation instead of Barry Zito is great news for the Rockies. Michael Morse should also add some power to the San Francisco lineup.
Disabled List: LHP Jeremy Affeldt (15-day, knee), 2B Marco Scutaro (15-day, back)
Two former Rockies compose the entirety of the Giants' disabled list at the moment, with Affeldt expected back sooner than Scutaro.