NL West division preview 2013: Giants stand pat

Matt Cain is one of the key members

Matt Cain is one of the key members of the Giants' starting rotation. (Credit: AP, 2012)

As the Dodgers kept trying to steal headlines from the Angels this offseason by continuing to spend piles of cash, their ancient rival -- and defending world champion -- pretty much watched in amusement from the Bay Area. It worked for the Giants last season, so why shouldn't it work this time around, too?

While the Dodgers netted the big pitching price in giving Zack Greinke $147 million, the Giants chose to bring back what they felt were two integral pieces to their title march: Angel Pagan, at four years, $40 million, and Marco Scutaro, at three years, $20 million. Crazy, right? Those dollars for those years?

But it's tough to rip GM Brian Sabean these days, not after winning the World Series twice in three years. He's been doing something right, and that something is riding a solid rotation, piecing together a bullpen and then adding a smart part or two over the course of the regular season. With Barry Zito returning to form last year, as well as becoming a postseason hero, that rotation is formidable again, even as the Giants watch and wait on Tim Lincecum.

The Dodgers, despite a $215-million payroll, still have a number of questions, mostly dealing with health. Carl Crawford is slow coming back from Tommy John surgery, Hanley Ramirez will miss the first two months after thumb surgery for a WBC injury and Greinke has been bothered by a sore elbow. If the Dodgers stumble out of the box, it could mean trouble for lame-duck manager Don Mattingly.

The rest of the division doesn't appear ready to touch the top two, but the Diamondbacks are the closest to doing so, even after moving Justin Upton. The Rockies still have the ability to pound teams, but assembling a pitching staff remains a problem. The Padres are mostly killing time until their younger players develop. At least they have fish tacos at Petco Park.

Best of the NL West

BEST MANAGER: Bruce Bochy, Giants

GENERAL MANAGER: Brian Sabean, Giants

STADIUM: Dodger Stadium, Dodgers

EVERYDAY LINEUP: Giants

OVERALL HITTING: Dodgers

OVERALL POWER: Rockies

TEAM SPEED: Diamondbacks

TEAM DEFENSE: Giants

STRENGTH OF BENCH: Giants

STARTING ROTATION: Giants

BULLPEN: Giants

PLAYERS

1. Matt Kemp, Dodgers

2. Buster Posey, Giants

3. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

HITTER

1. Buster Posey, Giants

2. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies

3. Dexter Fowler, Rockies

POWER

1. Matt Kemp, Dodgers

2. Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers

3. Chase Headley, Padres

STARTERS

1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

2. Matt Cain, Giants

3. Zack Greinke, Dodgers

RELIEVERS

1. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers

2. David Hernandez, D-backs

3. Sergio Romo, Giants

NEW FACES

1. Zack Greinke, RHP, Dodgers

2. Martin Prado, 3B, D-backs

3. Jedd Gyorko, 2B, Padres

FIVE-YEAR TREND

2012: San Francisco (94-68)

2011: Arizona (94-68)

2010: San Francisco (92-70)

2009: Los Angeles (95-67)

2008: Los Angeles (84-78)

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

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