Padres News: James Shields Signing Makes NL West Three-Team Race

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The franchise record amount of money given to free agent James Shields immediately catapults the San Diego Padres into the list of contenders for baseball’s biggest title. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants stand in their way.

The N.L. West will most surely be a three-team race this upcoming season. With apologies to the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers, Giants and Padres should battle it out for the Western Division title. 

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The pitching staffs of the Padres, Giants and Dodgers are just far and away better than the Rockies and Diamondbacks. Although I believe the Diamondback staff will surprise a few teams. By surprise, I mean hang in there most of the summer.

The defending World Series Champions are missing some key players from their title run. Pablo Sandoval and Michael Morse are big losses, and replacing them with Casey McGehee and Norichika Aoki is a move that lacks real flair. Fans of the Giants are restless as the team was said to be going after Jon Lester, but in the end just re-signed Ryan Vogelsong for one year and $4 million dollars.

The Dodgers seemed to replace identities with the suddenly free wheeling San Diego Padres. Instead of relying on the three-run home run, the Boys in Blue have decided to play small ball. Picking up Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick surely solidifies their middle infield defense, but how much will the loss of Dee Gordon‘s speed and Hanley Ramirez‘s power translate to victories?

Matt Kemp is now a Padre and replacing him is Phenom Joc Peterson fresh off his 30/30 campaign in Triple-A Albuquerque. Baseball minds are still picking the Dodgers to repeat in the NL West, but I find that hard to believe. They are in a transition period, trying to build a team with baseball analytics. Generally those types of moves takes seasons to positively affect a team.

James Shields thrust the San Diego Padres into conversations about a serious playoff team. They are for real, and the leadership Shields brings in the clubhouse and on the mound will justify his hefty price tag. The three-team race in the NL West will be sure to entertain us all through out the summer.

I cannot wait for the San Diego Padres to compete in the NL West. Hopes are very high and well justified, this season will surely be a memorable one for the city of San Diego. Lets Play Ball!

Next: Stop Whining About Losing A Draft Pick Already!

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