Saturday, January 20, 2007

Diamondbacks Quietly Planning to Coil Around, Asphyxiate, Swallow NL West?

All off-season long the Dodgers and Padres have been the trendy picks to win the 2007 NL West. But the Diamondbacks, like a snake in the Astroturf, have quietly assembled a potentially formidable pitching staff around 2006 NL Cy Young winner Brandon Webb.

Their latest addition is Doug Davis, whom the Diamondbacks just signed to a three-year, $22 million deal. Andrew at True Blue L.A. compares Davis favorably to Barry Zito and pleads, "Dear Josh Byrnes: Please Stop Making Good Moves":

I didn't really fear the Diamondbacks until they acquired a rotation, but it looks like that the pieces [are] in place. With Brandon Webb, Randy Johnson, Davis, and Livan Hernandez in the rotation, only one of about five young pitchers, including Dana Eveland, Micah Owings and Edgar Gonzalez have to step up for the Diamondbacks to have a very solid rotation.

With Davis locked up, the Diamondbacks [look] like they have a solid rotation at least until 2009. I thought that this year was going to be a race between the Padres and the Dodgers, but I think it's time to put the Diamondbacks in that conversation.

I still have doubts about Randy Johnson, but as Andrew notes, the Diamondbacks have options should he falter.

With increased pitching depth and a lack of notable power hitters not named Bonds, could next season's NL West be the lowest-scoring division in the majors?