Want to kick your feet up, post-Dodgers clinch, and think about something — anything — other than Craig Kimbrel? Well, let it go and refocus your attention on the San Diego Padres; specifically, the manner in which they added four solid-to-elite talents at this year’s trade deadline, and have stunningly managed to remain just as disinteresting.
Since the Padres changed the world, the NL West has been turned upside down by … Brandon Drury’s .233 average (he’s been on the shelf since being hit on the head Sept. 2), Josh Bell’s three home runs in 38 games, and Josh Hader’s career-altering meltdown (hard to whitewash a 12.10 ERA). Even the Dodgers, desperately in need of upper-echelon bullpen help, wouldn’t give him a call now.
And then there’s Juan Soto, the centerpiece of all centerpieces, who was supposed to be returning to Ted Williams’ native land to give modern fans a taste of the Splendid Splinter.
Instead, Soto has been shufflin’ on into obscurity thus far, playing pedestrian baseball in a sample size that’s growing ever larger.
In fact, compare his first 150 at-bats in the brown and yellow to what Dodgers outfielder Trayce Thompson pulled off in Los Angeles this summer, and you’ve got a clear picture of why Thompson has made himself a potentially invaluable piece of the playoff roster, while Soto remains the most important player on the most average team ever assembled.
Dodgers’ Trayce Thompson has been much, much better than Padres’ Juan Soto
Hey, I can’t see real good — is that Nicky Punto out there in right? Meanwhile, Hader’s living in a van down by the river.
Since breaching the 150-at-bat threshold, Thompson’s OPS has sunk to .854, but that doesn’t minimize the incredible work he’s done as a Dodger — and, yes, he started this season in the Padres outfield picture, logging 14 at-bats with a .067 average. Something about those brown pinstripes, folks.
Klay’s brother has been fully rejuvenated in LA, and the same cannot be said about the deadline’s biggest target. When a Soto trade started to crystallize in mid-July, the Dodgers seemed like the only logical fit, but the Padres fended off the Cardinals and crashed the party by the time the deadline was in focus.
While things should normalize next year, Soto wouldn’t be any sort of help to the 2022 Dodgers — and they’d also be without Bobby Miller, Diego Cartaya, and Ryan Pepiot.
It … it can’t be this bad forever … right? It … it can’t. Soto hit .333 with three bombs in the 2019 World Series. You’re telling us the pressure in San Diego is getting to him?!
The Padres appear to have gone 0-for-4 (in the short-term) with this season’s deadline deals, while the only thing still in question for the Dodgers is whether Kimbrel’s blown saves are going to prevent them from securing the all-time wins record.
Pretty solid view, from where we’re standing. Especially since the Padres’ young foundation just vanished, without a Trayce.