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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The National League West,
usually dominated by the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, has suddenly become a three-headed monster.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, who lost 98 games in 2014, struck quickly this offseason, adding impact right-handed pitchers Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller to a talented lineup to become instant contenders.
The Rockies, meanwhile, who have averaged 94 losses over the last four seasons and finished last three times, have yet to make a major move. So how does Arizona's emergence affect Colorado?
"You can't spend time worrying about what other people are doing all of the time or you're going to drive yourself crazy," second-year general manager Jeff Bridich said Wednesday on the final full day of the winter meetings. "We have some goals in place, and we have parameters in place related to the goals. There are things we want to do, or would like to do, but I don't think we are going to step out and do anything radically different."
Asked if the Rockies will be able to field a team in 2016 about which their fans can say, "This team can reasonably compete," Bridich answered, "We'll let the fans do the speaking."
Tuesday, the Rockies signed veteran right-handed relievers Jason Motte and Chad Qualls to bolster a weak bullpen. Bridich has said the Rockies are far from done. He acknowledged that teams continue to ask about outfielders Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson.
A number of free-agent outfielders, including Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes, have yet to sign. When they do, the dominoes could fall and trigger a trade by Colorado.
"That's part of the equation, a real part of where we are at," Bridich said.
Yet nothing the Rockies do during the offseason will compare to what Arizona has done. Fueled by a new, $1.5 billion TV contract and an aggressive management team led by chief baseball officer Tony La Russa and GM Dave Stewart, the Diamondbacks signed Greinke to a six-year, $206 million contract.
Then Arizona further bolstered its rotation — the weak link of last season's 79-83 team — by making a costly trade with the Atlanta Braves in order to land Miller. The Diamondbacks had to give the Braves outfielder Ender Inciarte, shortstop Dansby Swanson (the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft) and Triple-A pitcher Aaron Blair.
Arizona's starting rotation posted the fifth-worst ERA in the National League last season (4.37), but now it has one of the best, at least on paper. Miller and Greinke join talented left-hander Patrick Corbin to provide a powerful one-two-three punch.
But keep in mind that last season the San Diego Padres spent a lot of money and completely revamped their team, including signing right-hander James Shields to a four-year, $75 million contract. Then the Padres laid an egg, finishing 74-88.
Bridich, of course, is aware that the pitching-rich NL West presents a challenge. But, he added, "Not everything that is done on paper turns out to be the solution."
Rockies vs. NL West
How the Rockies fared in their division in 2015:
Overall record: 32-44
Vs. Arizona: 6-13
Vs. Los Angeles: 8-11
Vs. San Diego: 7-12
Vs. San Francisco: 11-8