As recently as 2008, the National League West was considered a sub-par division and filled with mediocre teams barely breaking the .500 mark.  

In 2005, for instance, the Giants, Dodgers, Rockies and Diamondbacks all finished the season with losing records, while the San Diego Padres won the division with a mere 82-80 mark.

Mediocrity aside, 2013 looks to be an exciting year for the National League West and its fans.  

The Dodgers, with new ownership in place, have already proven that they are not afraid to spend and—on paper—are beginning to look like Yankee teams of the recent past.  The San Francisco Giants are the reigning World Series Champions and have won the title two of the last three years.  And though it may look to be a tough year for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks, both teams have decent leadership and could make some noise next season.

The San Diego Padres, moreover, finally look ready to compete.  With new ownership in place, a solid group of players largely unchanged from last season and one of the strongest farm systems in all of Major League Baseball, the Padres are looking to turn some heads in the National League in 2013.

Let’s look at six reasons why the San Diego Padres should be a contender in 2013 and beyond:

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