The National League West will be won, it appears, without much new outside help.
The nonwaiver trade deadline ended Tuesday afternoon, and the contenders did not pull any blockbusters now that the major leagues’ top trading piece, Mark Teixeira, has gone to Atlanta as expected.
Both the Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers were mentioned as possible suitors for Teixeira, but both were long shots, the D-Backs because of monetary restraints and the Dodgers because they apparently were unwilling to part with the young talent that Texas sought.
San Diego has already made its moves, and Colorado is mining its farm system, not the trade market.
All four teams are within 3 1/2 games of the lead entering the final two months of the season, which has been as topsy-turvy as last year, when every team led the division at one point and every team was in last at another.
A look at the four teams in the hunt for the NL West title:
Current state: Top starters Brad Penny (abdominal strain) and Derek Lowe (hip) left their most recent starts with health issues, and it would be hard for the Dodgers to manage without either one for an extended period, let alone both. No. 3 starter Randy Wolf (shoulder) also is not back yet …
What they could use? The Dodgers had been in the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes in an attempt to jump start the offense, and they are one of the few teams that could have made a deal work because of their young talent — James Loney, Andre Ethier and Andy LaRoche always come up — and deep pockets. Then the staff became more of a concern.
What deal they might make? Boston is interested in infielder Wilson Betemit, whom the Dodgers acquired from Atlanta this time last season (when the D-Backs also were interested).
What will they do? It all depends on how serious the Dodgers are about keeping all their prospects. They could stand pat and hope for health. Penny is expected to start today.
Current state: Throw out the 14-0 loss to Atlanta on Sunday. The D-Backs are playing their best ball of the season now, with three scintillating walk-off victories last week adding punctuation. The offense seems to be picking up with a set top three of Chris Young, Orlando Hudson and Eric Byrnes.
What they could use? With Randy Johnson (back surgery) out for the rest of the season, the D-Backs may try to add to a rotation that looks to feature two rookies the rest of the way.
What deal they might make? They have a love-hate relationship with Jose Contreras, who is available (but easy to hate with his numbers since the 2006 All-Star break). They appear a good trade fit with Minnesota, which needs a bat, but has shown a reluctance to deal from its pack of quality young starters.
What will they do? Minor tinkering to the pitching staff, though it will not be for a lack of trying.
Current state: The Padres are in a slight downturn, although that is not uncommon in a division that has run hot-and-cold the past two seasons — all five NL West teams spent time in both first and last place last season, and all have been in first again this year.
What they could use? Chris Young, who leads the NL with a 1.82 ERA and is a perfect fit as a high ball pitcher in a canyon of a park, is on the disabled list, and if he is gone for an extended period, the Padres would be thin in the rotation.
What deal might they make? They have already done a lot. Proactive general manager Kevin Towers traded for catcher Michael Barrett and D-Backs outfielder Scott Hairston, signed free agent Milton Bradley and sent setup man Scott Linebrink to Milwaukee for prospects, moving Heath Bell into a setup role.
What will they do? Towers appears to have assembled his team for the stretch drive, although he is never afraid to tinker at the deadline.
Current state: The Rockies have not been two games over .500 this late in the season since Coors Field was at sea level, it seems. Matt Holliday is one of the best offensive players in the league, and rookie Troy Tulowitzki has blossomed.
What they could use? Pitching. Pitching. Pitching. Manny Corpas has replaced injured closer Brian Fuentes admirably, and likely will keep the job even after Fuentes returns, which could create an opening for another bullpen arm.
What deal they might make? The Todd Helton rumors hit the air about this time every year, and with Triple-A slugging first baseman Joe Koshansky (a college teammate of Mark Reynolds) in the wings, the Rockies always listen.
What will they do? Stand pat. Like the D-Backs, the Rockies are building around young players and do not want to disturb the nucleus with a quick fix. Top prospect Ubaldo Jimenez won his first start Sunday.