NL West - Los Angeles Dodgers or San Francisco Giants
The NL West is home to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, and San Francisco Giants. Some of these teams are expansion teams, while others are teams that were moved west. The NL West has been a division of champions as of late.
In category one, we see a couple of very close teams to the Cardinals in the Dodgers and the Giants. I have included a chart below with more specific information, so you can see how close these three teams truly are.
All three teams are monuments in the National League, no doubt about that. A total of seventy-one World Series Appearances between these three franchises is a staggering total. However, in the category that matters the most, World Series Titles, the San Francisco Giants barely edge out the Dodgers as the closest team to the Cardinals. This awards them the prize for the first category.
In the second category, we see the same two teams at the top: the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers are closer in win percentage (.531 to .536 compared to the Cardinals’ .520); similarly, the Dodgers and Cardinals are a mere 100 wins away from each other. Their loss totals are also nearly identical. The Hall of Famer count complicates things slightly more, as the Dodgers have fifty-two, the Giants have fifty-seven, and the Cardinals have fifty. The Dodgers are closer to the Cardinals in the franchise statistics category.
The final category is organizational information. Attendance counts are relatively unfair to use for this division, as Los Angeles is a massive city, thus skewing the numbers. As far as management and signings, it also gets slightly complicated. The markets in these two cities are significantly larger than that of the St. Louis area. A team out of the NL West that is most similar as far as market size goes would be the Padres; however, the Padres have shown a penchant for spending these last five years or so (Manny Machado, Zander Bogaerts, Yu Darvish, etc.).
The Diamondbacks and Rockies have taken an approach similar to the Marlins and Nationals lately in which they dump off older players at the end of their arbitration for younger pieces. Despite the massive differences in market size, the Dodgers and Cardinals have a healthy mix of free agents, pre-arb players, arbitration players, pre-arb extension players, and other extension candidates. The third category is a toss-up.