After a 94-win season and the NL West title, it didn't seem like time to shake things up at Chavez Ravine. But the first-round playoff loss to the Cardinals evidently wasn't a good enough return on the $230-million investment, so the Dodgers lured Andrew Friedman from the Rays with another pile of cash -- and the new general manager quickly went to work giving the franchise a facelift.
During a whirlwind week at the winter meetings, Friedman thinned his outfield surplus -- and some payroll -- by dealing Matt Kemp to the Padres, a move that also helped pave the way for spring standout Joc Pederson. The Dodgers also dealt speedy leadoff man Dee Gordon to the Marlins, and within a matter of hours, replaced him at second with a swap for Howie Kendrick. Hanley Ramirez signed with the Red Sox.
Are the Dodgers better? At the very least, they should be just as good as long as the planet's best pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, stays healthy to front a rotation that should be deeper with the additions of Brett Anderson and former Yankee Brandon McCarthy.
Winning the division isn't the goal, however, for the big spenders in L.A. Anything short of a ring will be a disappointment.
Huntington's A.J. Preller gets credit for winning the offseason with his Padres makeover, a thorough reboot that should -- in theory -- supply needed pop with the acquisitions of Kemp, Wil Myers and Justin Upton. But can Kemp stay healthy? The rotation -- fortified by the signing of James Shields -- will be a strength, too.
Hunter Pence's fractured arm, which should keep him out through April, is a bad break for a Giants team scraping for offense. Pablo Sandoval is gone, too. But Madison Bumgarner only gets better and the return of Matt Cain is a shot in the arm. Plus, the Giants always seem to outperform how they look on paper.
Josh Collmenter was named the Opening Day starter, but that and the MVP-caliber production of Paul Goldschmidt seem like the only certainties for a D-backs team with questions throughout the roster. Cuban Yasmany Tomas comes with plenty of hype but seemed to be a work in progress in spring training.
The only real intrigue in Colorado this season is whether the Rockies will deal Troy Tulowitzki, whose name surfaced in trade discussions during the offseason. Tulowitzki has voiced his desire to play for a winner, and that's not going to happen at Coors Field.
Best of the NL West
EVERYDAY PLAYER: Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
OVERALL HITTER: Buster Posey, Giants
POWER HITTER: Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
IN THE CLUTCH: Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers
INFIELD ARM: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
OUTFIELD ARM: Yasiel Puig, Dodgers
CATCHER: Buster Posey, Giants
STARTER: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
RELIEVER: Yusmeiro Petit, Giants
CLOSER: Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
TEAM ROTATION: Dodgers
TEAM BULLPEN: Giants
TEAM OFFENSE: Dodgers
TEAM DEFENSE: Giants
TEAM SPEED: Dodgers
TEAM DEPTH: Dodgers
GM: Andrew Friedman, Dodgers
MANAGER: Bruce Bochy, Giants
STADIUM: Dodger Stadium
UNIFORMS: Padres (Wednesday home alternates)