Does a rising tide really lift all boats? We might find out soon as the NL West division appears to be getting stronger with each passing day. So far in the offseason, the major additions to the division's talent pool have come on the pitching side of the ledger, with apparently Zack Greinke and Brandon McCarthy joining the Dodgers and D-backs, respectively, while the major losses have been confined to center field, where Arizona's Chris Young and LA's Shane Victorino have either been shipped out or chosen to head to the AL. We're still waiting on a couple of rumored trade possibilities that could change things, notably those of Arizona's Justin Upton or the Rockies' Dexter Fowler, but thus far the net result appears to be more talent coming into the division than has left it.
While we're still not quite there yet, I think that ultimately, much like the AL East, the NL West will wind up being a division where one specific team can pretty much be counted on to get a playoff spot every year, and it will be up to the other four to form the remaining hierarchy to fight for whatever's left available. It's difficult to come to any different conclusion with the amount of money coming in to LA's coffers from their next TV deal, but like the AL East with the Yankees pulling everybody else forward, those four non-Dodger teams will be forced to get much more competitive and efficient themselves, and their abilities to secure a wild card and/or the occasional division title will become much stronger relative to the other NL divisions. At least, I hope that's the case.
For the Rockies part, new hitting coach Dante Bichette is promising to bring back the Rockies Coors Field swagger, making it difficult for the Dodgers or any team to welcome a trip to Denver. This will absolutely be a necessary part of any hope the Rockies will have of ever achieving a relative parity with the Dodgers, unless Denver suddenly becomes a much more lucrative media market. The mile high altitude is one thing no other team has, and the Rockies need to start seeing it more as a blessing than a curse.