The National League West has been the most top-heavy division in all of baseball for quite some time now. It’s been the Los Angeles Dodgers’ world for everyone else to live in over the last decade. The historic franchise has dominated in the division, winning nine of the last 10 NL West titles.
There have been success stories elsewhere in the division too, they just haven’t been able to snatch the regular season crown from Los Angeles that often. The San Francisco Giants’ division triumph in 2021 dethroned the Dodgers temporarily — before they grabbed it back from the Giants in 2022.
One would think a team that finished 107-55 in 2021 would still be the main competition for Los Angeles going forward, but that’s not exactly how things have shaken out recently. San Francisco has regressed, and instead, it’s the San Diego Padres who have become the Dodgers’ main competitor in the NL West.
Los Angeles — the top spending team in baseball in 2022 — now sits fifth in those metrics. The Padres have now jumped their division foe on the payroll charts as a few expensive offseason moves have them in contention not only for the NL West but also for the World Series.
Oddsmakers aren’t exactly buying into the Padres’ spending though. Instead, they’re choosing to play it safe and stick with the Dodgers, who have been historically dominant, to win the NL West.
Let’s break down each team, their chances and discuss NL West futures:
Los Angeles Dodgers
Odds to win the NL West: -125
Odds to win the NL: +400
Odds to win the World Series: +800
Someone needs to go feel Dave Roberts’ forehead. Does he feel a little warm to you? Is everything OK in Los Angeles? For the first time in a long time, the Dodgers didn’t make any big splashes this offseason. It’s rumored that the 2020 World Series champions are gearing up to make a run at Shohei Ohtani.
The lack of eye-popping transactions on the West Coast has bettors closely monitoring this situation on the futures market. But sportsbooks aren’t silly. Los Angeles has won nine of the last 10 NL West pennants and it still has one of the most talented rosters in baseball.
Walker Buehler missing the entire 2023 season as he recovers from Tommy John is going to sting. However, don’t expect the Dodgers to fall off the face of the Earth just because Buehler is out and Trea Turner left for Philadelphia. The devastating combination of a high payroll, a plethora of star power and a top-three farm system in baseball will have Los Angeles winning for years to come.
The Dodgers will still be a force to be reckoned with in the National League.
San Diego Padres
Odds to win the NL West: +110
Odds to win the NL: +480
Odds to win the World Series: +1000
The San Diego Padres now have one of the most expensive payrolls in the MLB. They’re going all-in recently after signing or extending the following: Manny Machado (11-year, $350 million), Fernando Tatis Jr. (14-year, $338.25 million), Xander Bogaerts (11-year, $280 million), Yu Darvish (six-year, $108 million) and Joe Musgrove (five-year, $100 million).
Last year’s National League finalists are hoping that the offseason acquisition of Bogaerts from the Boston Red Sox will help elevate them into the 2023 Fall Classic. If this team can stay healthy and play to even half of its potential, San Diego is a lock for the postseason.
While the Padres may not be as consistent throughout the year as their division rivals, the Dodgers, they don’t necessarily need to be. As fans witnessed last year, San Diego is built for the playoffs — and that was without Tatis.
I wouldn’t advise picking the Padres to win the NL West, I also wouldn’t advise against backing ‘Slam Diego’ in a two-horse race. There’s plenty of plus juice waiting to be consumed (+110 to win the NL West, +480 to win the NL, +1000 to win the World Series), it’s just a matter of whether you trust the hype or not.
San Francisco Giants
Odds to win the NL West: +1100
Odds to win the NL: +2500
Odds to win the World Series: +4000
The San Francisco Giants were the National League’s version of the Chicago White Sox last year. There were sky-high expectations for the experienced roster following a great 2021 season. However, a combination of bad luck and individuals having down years derailed their campaign.
San Francisco fans took a bit of a beating during the offseason, as well. Various reporters had put news out there that the Giants agreed to deals with Carlos Correa and Aaron Judge at certain times — only for the team to end up with neither player. Instead, Michael Conforto was San Francisco’s most exciting free-agent addition.
This roster isn’t going to excite anybody but when was the last time it did? The Giants certainly won’t be as bad as the latter two teams in the division. They likely don’t have the star power to compete with the Dodgers or Padres either.
San Francisco can maybe sneak into the playoffs via a Wild Card spot. Solid pitching could then maybe see the Giants make some noise in the playoffs. I’d recommend staying as far away as humanly possible from taking them to win the NL West though.
Odds to win the NL West: +5000
Odds to win the NL: +6500
Odds to win the World Series: +12500
The Arizona Diamondbacks have been one of this division’s punching bags for far too long, and they’ve had enough. The D-Backs are on the come up after several down years spent rebuilding. Arizona’s front office smartly locked up star prospect Corbin Carroll to an eight-year, $111 million deal earlier in the month, which is sure to have the clubhouse buzzing.
The Diamondbacks aren’t ready to compete with the likes of the Dodgers or Padres just yet. That being said, they made some solid offseason additions — such as Andrew Chafin, Jeurys Familia, Kyle Lewis and Evan Longoria — by adding some veteran presence to the roster. Add these seasoned players to a team that has a bonafide ace (Zac Gallen) and an exciting young star (Carroll) and good things can happen.
Arizona could be a sneaky pick to finish third in the NL West, and perhaps scrap its way to a Wild Card spot, if the team plays to its potential.
Odds to win the NL West: +20000
Odds to win the NL: +10000
Odds to win the World Series: +20000
The Colorado Rockies aren’t fooling anybody. They had some of their best pitchers on display at the World Baseball Classic, but don’t let that distract you from the fact they won’t be competing for anything in 2023 … or any time soon.
Colorado tried to show some ambition recently by adding 2016 NL MVP Kris Bryant on a seven-year, $182 million contract. That was after the team traded star infielders Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story. Bryant played well last season (hitting .306), but he only managed to play in about 25% of the team’s games.
The Rockies very clearly struggled without their star man, so what did they do to ensure that they’re not completely screwed without him going forward? Nothing. The list of Colorado’s off-season transactions is shorter than your average CVS receipt. The most notable thing the Rockies did was extend manager Bud Black for another season.
The Rockies might lose 100 games this year.
NL West best bet: Dodgers first team to 30 wins (+600)
As mentioned earlier, the Dodgers are favored by oddsmakers to win the division. There’s too much risk to take Los Angeles at minus odds given the Padres’ strength. Therefore, we’re taking a different route with the NL West’s best bet.
The Dodgers have been one of the best regular-season teams in baseball for quite some time. Excluding the shortened COVID-19 season, they’ve won 100 games four times since 2017. Los Angeles’ schedule to open the 2023 season is also extremely easy: vs. Diamondbacks, vs. Rockies, at Diamondbacks, at Giants, vs. Cubs, vs. Mets, at Cubs, at Pirates and vs. Cardinals.
As far as value goes, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better bet than the Dodgers to be the first team to reach 30 wins at +600.