The National League West is the best division money can buy

The Giants showed they were serious about keeping pace in the division when they signed Mark Melancon for a then-record four year, $62 million deal. Eric Risberg/AP Photo

For years, the National League West was generally regarded as a top-heavy pitching division -- a place where a free-agent starter could land for a year and rebuild his value by taking advantage of the big ballparks and soft competition. That may not be the case in 2017, or the next few years, with the NL West poised to contend with the AL East as Major League Baseball’s most competitive division, and maybe its best division.

Just follow the money spent this winter to see that trend. Once the Dodgers complete the signings of Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner, following the retention of Rich Hill, they will have committed $192 million to free agents this winter.

The Giants spent a then-record $62 million to fill their need at closer, signing Mark Melancon. The Rockies added to an already exceptional everyday lineup by locking down Ian Desmond to play first base for $70 million.