When the Padres went wild starting pitchers in the offseason, layering Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove and Blake Snell on an already rich and talented roster, San Diego felt like it could just overtake the Dodgers in the West. the NL. But Los Angeles responded by retaining Justin Turner, signing NL winner Cy Young Trevor Bauer and sending his payroll in excess of $ 260 million.
It wasn’t just the division. It was the National League. Maybe all sport. Dodgers or Padres, Padres or Dodgers.
But when the Giants finished claiming two of three wins over the Dodgers on Thursday, it was the San Francisco upstart who led the NL West by three games. San Diego was further from first place (six games) than it was ahead of Cincinnati for the second wild card.
The Dodgers responded with another move that racked up stars and – against better judgment – made them feel like they were a sure thing: they got stronger to try for a ninth straight NL West title and to become the first team since the 1998-2000 Yankees treble to repeat.
Los Angeles agreed with Washington to get Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. It would be the best starter and the best position player who would be moved in this business cycle to the list that already had the most talent.
The blessing of the Dodgers is the depth of finances and outlook. They have one of the majors’ best young catchers at Will Smith and two of the best catch prospects at Keibert Ruiz and Diego Cartaya. Thus, the Dodgers could mortgage Ruiz, who was generally considered their best prospect.
In December 2018, Los Angeles struck a mutual wage dumping deal with Cincinnati and yet the mega-market team ended up with the two prospects in the trade. One, Jeter Downs, was a key used last year to acquire Mookie Betts, who played a pivotal role in the Dodgers winning their first World Series since 1988. The other, Josiah Gray, hid behind Ruiz as the second best prospect and now also was going to Washington.
Two other perspectives had to be included, but the inclusion of Ruiz and Gray and the aggression to get both Scherzer and Turner looked like when the Cubs returned Gleyber Torres for a few months to Aroldis Chapman. But Chicago hadn’t won a World Series for 108 years. The Dodgers won one 10 months ago.
But the Dodgers aren’t just trying to win back-to-back World Series for the first time in franchise history, they’re trying to hijack the subject of Bauer, the insanity of signing him despite concerns about his makeup and now fallout. associated with his sexual assault. case that could eventually lead him to never play for the Dodgers (or in the majors) again.
At least on the mound, Scherzer is a fitting page turn for Bauer. The three-time winner of the Cy Young (who will now, among other things, be a teammate with the three-time winner of the Cy Young Clayton Kershaw) did not take the start on Saturday due to discomfort in his triceps. He pitched six audition innings Thursday in a morning against the Phillies, allowing one point to drop his ERA to 2.76 during his year of running.
Turner is currently absent after testing positive for COVID-19. When he’s there, Turner will join Betts to provide the most diverse and threatening 1-2 in the majors – both capable of delivering an average, powerful and elite base run. Corey Seager, the regular shortstop, has been out since mid-May with a broken hand. He is expected to return this weekend, which means Turner will likely play second. But Seager is a free agent after this season, so the Dodgers already have his replacement – Turner is a free agent after 2022.
The Dodger Muscle Flex comes with a ripple. What will the Giants do? We weren’t expecting them to crash Padres / Dodger party, but they did. So, do they go for Kris Bryant, Craig Kimbrel or Twins ace Jose Berrios? The Padres, perhaps the biggest surprise to overtake the luxury tax, would be a disaster if they weren’t even a wild card. That’s why they pushed for Scherzer and are now players for Berrios. If the Mets intend to do more than try to win the NL East, do they feel compelled to try and strengthen themselves in anticipation that all the routes to the NL title will likely go through Chavez Ravine?
Again, there are no things for sure. But the Dodgers have made themselves a lot harder to beat.