The San Diego Padres have been deemed the early winner of the offseason, but it’s the Los Angeles Dodgers who remain the favorite in 2021 World Series odds. The New York Yankees have similar odds to L.A. and San Diego, then there’s a significant drop off to the Atlanta Braves.
The Padres made headlines this week with completing a blockbuster trade for Blake Snell and following it up by striking a deal with the Chicago Cubs to acquire Yu Darvish. Their 2021 starting rotation, which also is poised to feature Dinelson Lamet, Chris Paddack and Adrian Morejon, was ranked No. 1 by MLB.com, which placed the Dodgers second.
San Diego is coming off their first winning season since 2010 and were in the postseason for the first time in 14 years. While general manager A.J. Preller added to what already was a talented roster, he stopped short of publicly declaring the Padres as being superior to the Dodgers.
L.A. is in the midst of eight consecutive National League West titles, three World Series appearances in the last four years, and their first championship since 1988. They are due to return much of the roster core but do face some questions, namely at third base.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman identified the bullpen and a right-handed bat as areas of priority this offseason. He has already addressed that in some part via trades for Corey Knebel and Garrett Cleavinger, and the signings of Brandon Morrow and Jimmy Nelson.
Key relief pitchers Pedro Baez and Blake Treinen both remain free agents. So too is Liam Hendriks, whom the Dodgers have been connected to but may ultimately be priced out of his market.
On the position player side, Kiké Hernandez, Joc Pederson and Justin Turner are notable Dodgers free agents. The team reportedly has interest in re-signing Turner, but retaining Hernandez or Pederson is considered less likely.
Dodgers reportedly in talks with LeMahieu
With uncertainty at second base and the hot corner, the Dodgers reportedly are still in the picture for free agent DJ LeMahieu. He conceivably could be a replacement if Turner is not retained, or even slot in at second base.
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