Tuesday, December 29, 2020
© Sarah Morris, 2020
During the last week, the San Diego Padres have been rumored to be collecting starting pitching. It is rumored that the Padres have traded for Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays and Yu Darvish from the Chicago Cubs.
Many Dodger fans are worried about the Padres with their new starting rotation. While the Dodgers need two new right-handed hitters unless they re-sign the third baseman Justin Turner, their strong lineup can hit against any pitching staff in the Major Leagues.
The ability of the Padres to acquire two top-tier starters says much about the current economic situation in Major League Baseball. The Rays, who went to the World Series in 2020, apparently have no problem dropping their 2018 Cy Young Award-winner. Snell was the most difficult starter that the world champion Los Angeles Dodgers faced during the 2020 season, including the postseason. Snell’s high-quality pitches come from the same arm slot, making it difficult to differentiate which pitch is delivered. His slider is the best in the Major Leagues. Unlike with the Rays, Snell will be allowed to pitch to an opposing lineup three times unless he struggled during the game.
For a long time, Darvish has been an excellent right-handed starter. After coming from Japan, Darvish was the ace in the Texas Rangers. At the 2017 Major League trading deadline, the Dodgers acquired Darvish, and Darvish pitched well until the 2017 World Series. The Houston Astros’ cheating scandal victimized Darvish. Since many Dodger fans blamed Darvish for not winning the 2017 world championship, he did not want to re-sign with the Dodgers, fearing his children would be bullied since their father bombed in the 2017 World Series.
In February 2018, Darvish signed a 6-year $126 million with the Chicago Cubs. The 2018 season was a disaster for Darvish who had an awful case of flu and an arm injury. He rebounded in 2019, but during the 2020 abbreviated season, Darvish had a fantastic season, which earned him to be a finalist for the 2020 National League Cy Young Award.
While the Cubs are an iconic National League team, it is difficult to believe this organization is having financial problems. The Cubs had no fans at Wrigley Field during the abbreviated 2020 season. Although the Cubs have a huge television deal, they seemed to be broke. From the outside looking in, it appears the Cubs entering a phase of rebuilding. This isn’t good for Major League Baseball.
Will the Dodgers be able to win another divisional championship with a stronger San Diego Padres? Of course. The Dodgers might not have the best record in the Major Leagues. Their starting rotation of three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, the World Series hero Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin, and Dustin May, even if David Price does not return in 2021. The Dodgers have added Corey Knebel from the Milwaukee Brewers to an already strong bullpen. With Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, and Max Muncy, the Dodger lineup is powerful and experienced.
Dodger President Andrew Friedman is known to pull off brilliant last-minute baseball moves. He has at least six weeks before spring training to strengthen the Dodger lineup against left-handed pitching. While Gavin Lux may be able to rebound from a difficult 2020 season to claim the second-base position, the Dodgers need to acquire a second baseman.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020