Last October the Dodgers made Chicago look like chopped liver.
And now that Manny is back in L.A. the West Division appears to be won.
Yet, despite re-signing No.99, the Dodgers have put together an interesting off season, largely over shadowed with Manny’s prolonged negotiations, of course.
Also coming back is Casey Blake, Russell Martin, Andre Ethier, Jonathan Broxton and Rafael Furcal.
And the new faces in SoCal make a formidable list, as well: Brad Ausmus, Juan Castro, Shawn Estes, Mark Loretta, Doug Mientkiewicz, Eric Milton and Randy Wolf.
The club’s starting pitching is suspect, but in a weak division there’s no reason to think Torre won’t have this team playing in the post season again – Cubs beware.
As for the Cubs’ opponents in the NL Central, nothing much of interest during the off season.
The Brewers were left to replace CC with Trevor Hoffman and Brandon Looper; the Cards traded for Khalil Greene; the Reds added Ramon Hernandez and former Cubs Jacque Jones and big D. Ward while the Astros signed former Reds Aaron Boone and Danny Graves…Pittsburgh, why bother.
So again, nothing too exciting out of the NL Central this winter, which, is good news for Chicago, but it seems they’ll still have to face L.A this October.