The year was 2002; the National League West showed that it was a force to be reckoned with. The first place team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, had won the World Series in the previous year and returned with much of that strength to finish with a 98-64 record, which was enough to win the division over the San Francisco Giants, who finished only two-and-a-half games behind, managing to grab the NL Wild Card spot. The Giants went on to defeat the Braves in the Divisional Series, then triumphed over the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series, both of which were huge surprises to all of baseball. San Francisco allowed the World Series to slip through its fingers, yet impressed many in doing so. Even the third place team did well; the Los Angeles Dodgers finished with a 92-70 record, the tenth best in the Major Leagues. Things looked bright for the Rockies, who appeared to be setting up with a bright fusion of youth and veteran talent, and the Padres, who had begun to make competitive moves and had a new ballpark on the way. The National League West was going to be a dominant division in the coming years. Fast forward to 2005, when baseball fans everywhere sneered at the pathetic state of the National League West division, which was won by a team that barely had a winning record; all teams can attribute their failures to a fair share of injuries and an impressive number of inexperienced youth filling in out of desperation and sadly, need. Coming into the off season, these teams knew what they needed to do in order to bring themselves and the National League West back to dominance, where they were in 2002. One of these teams was the San Francisco Giants, a team that was forced to push young prospects into everyday Major League roles. By doing this, they were able to step back and evaluate the talent in place, allowing them to go into the off-season knowing exactly what they would need to acquire in the upcoming winter: an impact left-handed hitter, a left-handed first baseman, a left-handed middle reliever, a starting pitcher, a backup utility infielder, and a backup catcher. For them to once again become a team of prowess they would have to find the right pieces to fill the holes; they did this, for the most part, and had a productive off-season, making some creative, under-the-radar moves. Brian Sabean (Giants’ General Manager) did a good job to get rid of both weaknesses and high-paid players in order to obtain what the Giants needed; he was able to make a couple of unbelievably favorable trades and decent signings. They definitely could have done better, but at the same time could have done a lot worse.