BUD SELIG'S WORST NIGHTMARE: Check out this preview of the Minnesota Twins
for a look at how good the Twins can be in the upcoming years. Even allowing for the fact that Sickels is a Twins fan, you can see how much young talent they have stockpiled.
Here's a handy way to show why you should never believe Bud Selig. How often have you heard the Commisioner say a variation of the following: "At the start of spring training, there no longer exists hope and faith for the fans of more than half our 30 clubs."
Now take out a copy of last year's standings, and compile a list of teams which, as spring training begins again, have "hope and faith" of making the playoffs if things go right. As Peter Gammons points out,
your list will probably include between 16-22 teams. If anything, I'd say he's being too pessimistic about the Padres. Even Detroit has a chance to be good in the near future, now that they have a real GM. In any case, even if your criteria are stricter than Gammons', there is no way your list can exclude half the teams in the game. (And historically, if your criteria are much stricter than Gammons, you stand a good chance of being shocked on a regular basis. More on that another time.)
There is a lot to say on the subject of competitive balance in baseball, and this site will hopefully say some of it. But as an introductory principle, you can't go wrong with this: Don't believe Bud Selig.
UPDATE: This David Schoenfeld piece
elaborates on Gammons' list, and shows another point about which much more could be said: many of the teams that have "no hope and faith" cannot use the lack of resources as their excuse.