While many teams have been unwilling to spend to improve their rosters in free agency over the past few years, the budding National League West rivalry between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres grew stronger with both teams making significant improvements.
The Dodgers and Padres had two of the records last season and met in the NL Division Series, which the former swept before going on to win the World Series.
Although the Padres have a lot of young talent, general manager A.J. Preller recognized there was still a gap between them and the Dodgers and went out and acquired both Blake Snell and Yu Darvish. San Diego also brought in other quality players such as Joe Musgrove, Mark Melancon and Ha-Seong Kim.
The Dodgers remained quiet for most of the offseason, although they made arguably the biggest splash of the winter by signing Trevor Bauer. They then followed it up by bringing back one of their own in Justin Turner, giving them the largest payroll in baseball by a wide margin.
When discussing the Bauer signing, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman addressed if it was in response to the moves the Padres have made. “It’s hard to say,” Friedman began.
“Obviously we’ve noticed and we think they’re a really talented team. That being said, we’re pretty intrinsically motivated to be as good as we can be. But yeah, we’ve definitely noticed. Last year was a good little battle between us, and we anticipate that’s going to be the case going forward.”
Bauer vs. Machado
Friedman also poked fun at Bauer’s inability to get Padres third baseman Manny Machado out.
“Just digging through some Trevor Bauer YouTube videos with my son, we came across one about him and Manny Machado, so we’re going to have to spend some time in talking through that,” Friedman joked.
“But we feel like they’re a really good team and we’re looking forward to the series coming up this year. We definitely noticed what they’ve done and we’re going to do everything we can to maintain our position.”
Machado is 10-for-17 with four home runs and four walks in his career again Bauer, so Friedman’s knowledge of how to get him out will certainly be of big assistance now that they are in the same division.
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