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Adding Blake Snell to the San Francisco Giants makes the NL West MLB’s most intriguing division

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It took way too long, and its overall value is underwhelming, but Blake Snell’s decision to sign
with the San Franciso Giants — two years, $62 million with an opt out after 2024 – cements
something that had been percolating much of the offseason.

The National League West is going to be a blast this season. Maybe even a beast.

With its offseason additions, the NL West has made a legitimate push to be MLB’s top division
in 2024, though it doesn’t quite surpass the top-to-bottom depth of the American League East
thanks to the NL West’s high-altitude albatross, the Colorado Rockies.

The Rockies finished 41 games out of first in 2023. And things don’t look as promising for them
this season.

Fifty games back, anyone?

What about the other four clubs?

Each one could be a contender.

Consider: Since the Arizona Diamondbacks won the National League pennant and then lost to
the Texas Rangers in the World Series, the NL West has added: Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu
Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow, James Paxton (Los Angeles Dodgers); Snell, Jordan Hicks (Giants);
Dylan Cease, Michael King (San Diego Padres) and Eduardo Rodríguez (Arizona

And those are just starting pitchers – OK, so Ohtani won’t be a starting pitcher in 2024, but you
get the point. That’s a whole lot of rotation talent to enter one division in one offseason.
Then throw in the offensive upgrades, Teoscar Hernández, Matt Chapman, Jung Hoo Lee and
Jorge Soler, to name a few, and the NL West definitely won the winter.

So, what happens now?

Related: San Francisco Giants 2024 MLB preview

Los Angeles Dodgers remain favorite to win National League West

MLB predictions 2024
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers are still the prohibitive favorite to lead the division. That’s what happens when a
club captures the divisional crown in 10 of the last 11 seasons and then adds arguably the
greatest player in the history of the game and the best pitcher in baseball-rich Japan in a matter of
weeks. Status secured.

The Diamondbacks are the defending NL champs, have an impressive young nucleus and added
several solid veterans, including Rodríguez, Eugenio Suárez and Joc Pederson, to the mix. They
safely looked like a good bet to place second and make the playoffs again.

Then the Giants stepped up in a big way. Their spending spree can’t match the Dodgers in terms
of pure talent. But no big-league team improved on paper the way the Giants have, adding five
legitimate pieces to the roster, with Snell, the reigning NL Cy Young winner, as the headliner.

And that group doesn’t include Robbie Ray, also a former Cy Young Award winner, who is
hoping to return to the big leagues by the All-Star Break after rehabbing from elbow surgeries.

Related: MLB players pick Los Angeles Dodgers to win World Series

After winning 107 games in 2021 to snap the Dodgers’ division-title run, the Giants haven’t been
over .500 since. So, they made some major moves to chase down their rivals. That includes
grabbing venerable manager Bob Melvin from the Padres without surrendering compensation.

We’ve all seen teams look great on their way to Opening Day only to have their new roster
construction crumble once the season begins in earnest (we’re looking at you, Padres). And these
Giants may fall into that trap, too.

Related: Los Angeles Dodgers 2024 MLB preview

Blake Snell gives San Francisco Giants a fighting chance

Blake Snell news, San Francisco Giants
Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

As great as Snell can be, his walk rate will always be concerning, and recent history tells us that
starting pitchers who basically skip spring training often struggle in the first couple months of
the following season.

Still, would it really surprise anyone if the Giants catapulted over the Diamondbacks and at least
scared the Dodgers a little? Snell and Logan Webb finished one-two in the NL Cy voting last
season, and now they are in the same rotation. That tandem alone should cause consistent trouble
for opposing offenses.

Then there’s Snell’s previous team, the Padres, who seemingly had decided to take a step
backward in 2024. They didn’t re-sign three of their four primary starters from last year’s
rotation, as well All-Star closer Josh Hader, and traded superstar outfielder Juan Soto.

It looked like the Padres had locked up fourth place before switching gears and trading with the
Chicago White Sox for right-hander Dylan Cease, who finished second in AL Cy Young voting
in 2022.

Suddenly, with Cease joining Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove and King, whom they received
in the Soto deal with the New York Yankees, the rotation seems good enough to hold the line
while an offense led by Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts and Fernando Tatis Jr., bashes.

Then again, given this division, the Cease trade still may not be enough to lift the Padres out of

The National League West has become the Dodgers and three clubs good enough to take them
down if things break right. And that seemed almost impossible after the Ohtani and Yamamoto

That’s what we call intrigue. That’s why this division should be the most combative and
interesting in the majors – except when those four clubs face the poor Rockies.

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