It's too early for projections. The Dodgers are still going to trade for Sonny Gray this offseason, you'll see. The Giants are going to trade for Ryan Braun, you'll see. It's too early for projections.
So here are some projections. First, we have odds from bookmakers Bovada, who base them mostly on how people bet. The Giants are now 6/1 favorites to win the World Series, tied with the Cubs. This is, of course, ludicrous, even if you assume the Giants are one of the 10-best teams in baseball. But dummies with money are excited about Johnny Cueto and even years, so they moved from 20/1 odds in November to World Series favorites.
More realistically, we have Dan Szymborski and his ZiPS machine over at ESPN. I like this ZiPS machine. It says nice things about Johnny Cueto and the Giants.
As for Cueto's contract, six years is a perfectly reasonable length and $130 million is an unshocking amount for a pitcher with Cueto's track record who has yet to turn 30. Overall, projected over six years as a Giant, ZiPS estimates Cueto's performance value as worth $153 million -- or $23 million more than the Giants are actually paying.
Good work, computer. However, it's not quite enough to put the Giants over the Dodgers in projected NL West standings.
TEAM W L GB DIVISION WIN Los Angeles Dodgers 87 75 -- 43.1% San Francisco Giants 85 77 2 28.6% Arizona Diamondbacks 84 78 3 25.4% San Diego Padres 75 87 12 1.8% Colorado Rockies 73 89 14 1.1%
Still, when you're talking margins that thin, you're basically calling the division a tossup. It's a lot better than the projections from last year, at least, even if the Giants improved by just two games. And that's not even including the Tyler Beede-for-Josh Reddick trade, either.
The Giants and Dodgers still have a lot of offseason left, and we also know the division is going to hinge on something stupid, like Brett Anderson pitching 200 innings of sub-3.00 ball, or Gregor Blanco hitting 25 homers, but for now, we have projected standings. The gap has closed in the NL West, just like we all figured.