Should the Dodgers Start Worrying About San Diego?

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After the Padres acquired Matt Kemp earlier this offseason, I began to wonder if the Padres would actually be relevant this season. Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi haven’t been the only front office executives to be busy this winter trying to improve and revamp their roster. New San Diego General Manager A.J. Preller has given Friedman and Zaidi a run for their money (or should I say Mark Walter’s money) with some big trades and signings in order to transform San Diego into a more competitive ball club going into the 2015 season. Should the Dodgers start worrying about the Padres in their quest to capture the National League West title three years in a row?

Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times claims the Padres are the team to beat in the N.L. West while finding another way to add his angst towards sabermetrics in his writing. Let’s not get too hyped about the Padres just yet, unless they go for broke and sign Cuban free agent Yoan Moncada.

Now after the Padres have reportedly signed James Shields, the San Diego rotation gets a whole lot more impressive. The four-year $72 million deal is ironically offset by the cash the Dodgers will be sending to San Diego as part of the Matt Kemp trade. You’re welcome, San Diego.

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  • While the San Francisco Giants have had a relatively quiet offseason, the Padres have been making a flurry of moves. They have added outfielders Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Justin Upton as well as catchers Derek Norris and Tim Federowicz and third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Former Dodger Scott Elbert was also signed to a minor league contract in January and invited to Spring Training.

    While the backend of the Dodgers rotation is Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson and a prayer, the Padres have a lot more depth as far as starting pitching. Shields will join Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy, Odrisamer Despaigne, Brandon Morrow and Josh Johnson. The spaciousness of Petco Park will also be very advantageous to the pitching staff which is already shaping up to be quite solid.

    The Padres will certainly be contenders in 2015, but I don’t see them making a run for the division over the Dodgers or reigning World Series champs from up north. Of course now that I’ve said that, they’ll go on to win it all, won’t they? The new Padres are certainly intriguing, and the Dodgers shouldn’t take their years of mediocrity for granted. Yet, their relevancy has yet to be proven on the field, and as far as long-term viability, the Matt Kemp contract plus James Shields in four or five years may come back to bite them. Arthritic hips don’t lie.

    Aug 30, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (left) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the sixth inning off of San Diego Padres starting pitcher Ian Kennedy to tie the game at one at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    With rumblings of Cole Hamels trades and more to come from Preller, we can’t say that the Padres are done wheeling and dealing this winter. I wouldn’t trade catcher Austin Hedges with FedEx as their backup (unless it’s to the Dodgers), but like Farhan/Zaidi, Preller seems to have his finger close by the trade trigger this offseason.

    The Padres have always been a bridesmaid, but perhaps this season they will finally be the bride with their roster makeover. Then again, the brown-hued division brothers may still end the season in typical mediocre style even though they finally made some moves for some big names. If anything, the new players give the San Diego fan base something to be excited for. Now if San Diego can actually turn around that pathetic offense to go along with their excellent rotation, they may be on to something.

    If the Pads do sign Moncada, I will be jealous and maybe more likely to see them as a big contender in the N.L. West. Until then, the Dodgers are still my favorite to win the division again in 2015.

    The Dodgers and Padres will clash 16 times this season. The Dodgers open the 2015 season versus the Padres on April 6th at Dodger Stadium. Clayton Kershaw versus James Shields would be a great Opening Day matchup.

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