Chat with Jerry Crasnick

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Welcome to The Show! Jerry Crasnick is stopping by Monday at 1 p.m. ET as part of our ongoing Hot Stove Heaters chats! Check back each day for a new topic and a new chat! Take it away, Jerry!

Last week's Hot Stove Heater debates were devoted to individual matchups. Today, it's more of a group thing.

Which division is the best in baseball?

That question, of course, is subject to interpretation. If you're asking which division provides the most spirited competition and is the most wide-open top to bottom, the nod goes to the National League West. Four teams have a legitimate chance to win the division, and the San Francisco Giants, with that starting rotation, aren't a lot of fun to play.

But it's tough to argue for the National League when the American League: (a) is 10-0-1 in the last 11 All-Star Games; (b) is 7-3 in the last 10 World Series; and (c) has a combined 427-329 record in interleague play over the past three seasons. Just about every scout who follows both leagues wholeheartedly agrees with that "varsity vs. the junior varsity" characterization.

Nevertheless, here are our contenders:

The case for AL East

Boston has won two World Series in the past four years. The Yankees have averaged 97 victories a year since 1996, and Toronto should be better after being crushed by injuries last season. In addition, Tampa Bay is finally making strides in assembling a pitching staff to complement its impressive core of young offensive talent. By the way, the AL East posted a 101-85 record vs. the AL Central last year.

The case for AL Central

Detroit was a legitimate World Series threat until a slew of injuries hit the team last season, and Cleveland took Boston to the limit in the American League Championship Series. If Francisco Liriano returns from Tommy John surgery and Johan Santana stays put, Minnesota could be very intriguing. In addition, Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis, Edgar Renteria, Nick Swisher, Scott Linebrink, Orlando Cabrera, Delmon Young and Jose Guillen will be new to the division in 2008.

The case for NL West

Arizona, Colorado and Los Angeles are all loaded with young talent, and San Diego is always a threat because of its pitching. Arizona also managed to land Dan Haren in a trade with Oakland without hurting the big league club. On the down side, the NL West posted a 34-44 record in interleague play last season, and the division lacks firepower. With the exception of Colorado, no NL West club scored 750 runs last season.

The Choice

This is a close one. But we'll go with the AL East, in part because of the improvement of Toronto and Tampa Bay. So let's commence with the chat -- and the obligatory "East Coast bias" rants.

Vote: Which division is the best in baseball?

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