The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the midst of eight consecutive National League West titles and this year added a World Series championship to that stretch, yet it is the San Diego Padres who have emerged as the offseason darling.
San Diego enjoyed a successful season that saw them reach the playoffs for the first time since 2006. They competed with the Dodgers in the NL West and finished with the second-best record in the league but were swept by L.A. in the NL Division Series.
Looking to continue their pursuit of toppling the Dodgers, the Padres tapped into a deep farm system to complete a reported trade with the Tampa Bay Rays for Blake Snell.
While the deal certainly adds more intrigue to an already-talented Padres roster, an NL scout still considers the Dodgers the clear-cut favorite to win the pennant in 2021, per David Vassegh of AM 570 L.A. Sports:
— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) December 28, 2020
Since the reported Snell trade and the scout’s opinion being shared, the Padres have reportedly agreed to a contract with Ha-Seong Kim and are on the verge of completing a deal to acquire Yu Darvish from the Chicago Cubs.
Comparatively, the Dodgers have largely worked on the fringes of their roster and organizational depth. Brandon Morrow, Jimmy Nelson and Brock Stewart were among those signed to a Minor League contract.
There additionally was a trade to acquire Corey Knebel, who worked his way back from Tommy John surgery and had an encouraging finish to the 2020 season.
The likes of Pedro Baez, Kiké Hernandez, Joc Pederson, Justin Turner and Blake Treinen remain free agents. L.A. is said to be interested in re-signing Turner and they have also been connected to dominant closer Liam Hendriks.
Dodgers focusing on bullpen, right-handed position player
As the Dodgers continue to evaluate the market in free agency, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has mentioned the bullpen and a right-handed position player as areas of focus.
Re-signing the likes of Baez or Treinen, along with Turner, would seem to address those needs. Of course, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he believes the club stands to benefit from new players being added to the fold.
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