I admit it. I love baseball and my home-state team, the Colorado Rockies. And as a Rockies fan — I’ve hated the times of the Dodgers destroying us. Then there was the decade-long torment of the Giants. But looking at the Padres — they haven’t ever been awful for us here in Denver. In the stat that matters most, rings, the Rockies and Padres are the same. That might all change soon, however, and not in the Rockies favor. Here’s my take on what’s happening in San Diego right now that is catching fans’ attention throughout the league:
The San Diego Padres haven’t made the playoffs since 2006 — but this upcoming season seems like a certainty. A.J. Preller became the GM of the Padres in 2014 and has made some giant splashes since. Starting in 2016 he traded starting pitcher James Shields to the White Sox for starter Erik Johnson and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. Johnson didn’t do anything much on the Padres, or the big leagues in general, but Tatis has become one of the league’s next superstars. He then got star third baseman Manny Machado to sign a long term deal there in 2019. And all of this doesn’t even come close to what he has accomplished in just the past six months.
On August 31, Preller traded for Mike Clevinger. And in the last week and a half, he got Rays ace, Blake Snell, and 2020 NL Cy Young runner-up, Yu Darvish, from the Cubs. The Padres now have cemented themselves as the best pitching rotation in the league — even with Clevinger having to miss this upcoming season because of having to undergo Tommy John surgery. Reigning AL Cy Young winner, Trevor Bauer, is also a free agent right now and there’s a good possibility he signs with San Diego. Bauer is very good friends with Clevinger who he was teammates with back in Cleveland.
As of now the projected lineup for the Padres is: Trent Grisham (OF), Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS), Manny Machado (3B), Eric Hosmer (1B), Tommy Pham (OF), Wil Myers (OF), Jake Crownenworth (2B), and Austin Nola (C). This lineup consists of a total of 1 Rookie of the Year winner, 7 All-Star appearances, and 3 silver sluggers.
Unless Trevor Bauer signs with them, their projected rotation is Yu Darvish, Dinelson Lamet, Blake Snell, Chris Paddack, and Adrian Morejon. This rotation has 1 Cy Young winner, 5 All-Star appearances, and 1 ERA title.
While their team lineup is looking very good, I don’t want to discount the fact that there is also great competition throughout the league. (Not my Colorado Rockies, unfortunately, but many others.) In the NL you have one of the Padres division rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are the reigning World Series champions. As of right now, they are the favorite to repeat at +450. The Padres respectively, after their recent acquisitions, are sitting at third at +900. The New York Yankees are in between those two at +550. The other two, top-five teams are the Atlanta Braves — who were in the NLCS last year at +1000, and the Chicago White Sox, who have added great arms to their team this offseason, at +1300.
The Rays who lost in the World Series last year, most likely won’t make it too far because they traded the ace of their team, and one of the best pitchers in the league. The Los Angeles Angels could be up there, but only if they acquire pitching. The teams with the odds closest to San Diego’s are going to be their toughest competition. Especially if the Dodgers beat out San Diego for the division, then LA would have home field advantage if they were to meet in the playoffs.
As bad as the San Diego Padres have been in recent years, I believe that we are about to go into years of Padres dominance. I don’t know how many rings they will win, but they will at least be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.