San Francisco Giants

The Giants shouldn't just be one of the World Series favorites because it's an even year and you're afraid to go against the cosmic will of the baseball gods. They should also be one of the favorites because they still have a strong lineup, and while their rotation has risks, the upside is as high as it is obvious. The Giants are built for the regular season and the postseason, and they could make life difficult for the rest of the NL West.

Key Addition

Johnny Cueto was his typical Johnny Cueto self with the Reds, but then faltered with the Royals until the postseason came. The Giants invested in him as if he's the Cueto of old -- well, mostly the Cueto of old -- and if that's who they ended up signing, then the rest of the NL is going to be in trouble every time they have to face Cueto and Madison Bumgarner back-to-back.

All additions: Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Denard Span

Key Departure

Mike Leake is exactly the kind of pitcher who would have made this entire Giants' rotation feel a whole lot safer.

All departures: Mike Leake, Tim Hudson, Ryan Vogelsong, Nori Aoki, Marco Scutaro, Marlon Byrd, Jeremy Affeldt

Best Case

Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija return to form, and then devastate the countryside with Madison Bumgarner all season long. Jake Peavy shows he still has something left so long as it's against NL opponents, and Matt Cain keeps himself useful at the back-end of the rotation. Combined with the Giants' lineup, now with Denard Span, there is no one who can stop them from this even-year madness once again.

Worst Case

The Giants' rotation might be built for innings, but there is a red flag sticking out of everyone not named Madison Bumgarner. Without a strong rotation, they might not make it to even wild card status, never mind challenge the Dodgers for the NL West title.

Projected Team

Lineup: Denard Span, Joe Panik, Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt, Matt Duffy, Brandon Crawford, Angel Pagan

Rotation: Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Jake Peavy, Matt Cain