The Los Angeles Dodgers made one of the offseason’s biggest splashes by signing Trevor Bauer to a record-setting contract, but their competition in the National League West — specifically the San Diego Padres — got stronger as well.
They added starting pitchers Blake Snell, Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove in separate blockbuster trades, upgraded their bullpen with Keone Kela and Mark Melancon, and signed infielder Ha-Seong Kim out of the KBO.
The spending spree was not something out of left field, as the Padres have shown they are willing to be aggressive in free agency for players who fit their vision. This was evident prior to the 2019 season when they signed Manny Machado to a 10-year contract.
Now in the NL West himself, Bauer said he is looking forward to facing Machado more often and hopes to find better results, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“It hasn’t been too competitive. Basically I’ve just been setting him up for this moment. I’ve only faced him once or twice a year when he was in Baltimore and I was in Cleveland. We haven’t been in the same division, but now that we are, I saved the best stuff. I saved it all for now. He had his time, this is my time. We’ll flip that script real quick.”
As Bauer noted, Machado has gotten the best of him in their limited matchups. The former Dodger is 10-for-17 with four home runs against the right-hander, with most of those encounters occurring during their respective stints in the American League.
Both Bauer and Machado are coming off excellent 2020 campaigns, as the former took home NL Cy Young Award honors while the latter finished third in MVP voting.
It was possible Bauer would face Machado on Saturday, but he is in the lineup for the meeting at Camelback Ranch.
Bauer content with Dodgers debut
Bauer made his Dodgers debut against the Colorado Rockies in Cactus League play, finishing with two strikeouts over two scoreless innings.
“It felt good to be back out doing my job, but no real butterflies or adrenaline rush either,” he said after the outing. “I got a little bit of an adrenaline rush when I signaled fastball at the last hitter.”
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