Let's start with the doormats of 2007:
San Francisco: who after signing Barry Bonds during the Winter Meetings can now proudly say they only have seven more major pieces to find to be competitive. They are rumored to be in the running for a couple of the remaining free agent pitchers, and I only hope that their targets are of the "everybody wants them" Jeff Suppan, Jeff Weaver and Miguel Batista variety rather than the Russ Ortiz variety.
Arizona: The Diamondbacks are going after pitching and for some reason briefly flirted with the idea that they could make a trade for Jennings that would be acceptable to us. Their main target was Mark Mulder, but now the rumors seem to be indicating that Josh byrnes is just trying to throw a lot of junk trade ideas out there to see if anything happens:
"I guess I regard them (the talks) as making progress," Byrnes said. "No idea has fallen apart on us, but obviously we're still progressing at a slow pace. I wouldn't say anything has disappeared."
At least we seem to have an understanding of what our team needs and where we're heading with moves this offseason, but making trade offers to eight or ten teams, including Colorado for JJ seems to indicate that there really isn't any sort of cohesive plan on how Byrnes is going to fill his team's holes.
San Diego: Signing Greg Maddux gives the Padres the second best rotation in the division, and there won't be a whole lot the Rockies, D-backs or Giants can do at this point to catch up in that regard barring some unexpectedly fast development of pitching prospects. The Padres still have some offensive holes to fill, however, and right now with the loss of Piazza and Barfield, they're dramatically weakened in production from the up the middle positions from where they were a year ago. They seem to be going in the opposite direction of Colorado in this regard. Right now, I'm looking at two or three sink holes in their lineup and a weakened bench, but these needs are filled a lot easier than pitching this offseason.
Los Angeles: Still the prohibitive favorites especially after this last week, and if they get Vernon Wells for Brad Penny, it could be all but over for the rest of the teams in the division this year. Getting Schmidt was the major score on their part. The good news is their offense will either be fragile and good, or young talented and inconsistent and there is a little wiggle room there. Not much, but enough that one of the other three contending teams could sneak in to take the division.