3 Dodgers rivals’ moves we’re already laughing at

Los Angeles Angels v Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels v Texas Rangers / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The Dodgers are off to a fantastic start to the season, leading the NL West by a considerable margin and only dropping a single game against the Cardinals since returning to the States from Korea. Mookie Betts is absolutely terrorizing opposing pitchers, Shohei Ohtani hit his first home run as a Dodger, and Teoscar Hernández is second in home runs in the league only to Betts. It's all happening in LA.

But how are their rivals doing? The Dodgers swept the Giants this past week, so we sort of know how they're doing, and given LA's dominance atop the division so far, we can say with certainty that no one's doing as well as the Dodgers.

It seems like the perfect time for us to get up on our high horse and take a peek down at all the little guys.

3 Dodgers rivals’ moves we’re already laughing at

The Diamondbacks signing Eduardo Rodriguez

Rodriguez famously shirked the Dodgers last season when he blocked a trade to LA from the Tigers, citing family concerns. Then, during Winter Meetings, he signed with one of the worst possible teams for the Dodgers: the Arizona Diamondbacks on a four-year, $80 million contract. The D-Backs actually put together a pretty respectable offseason, getting Rodriguez, Eugenio Suárez, Joc Pederson, and finally Jordan Montgomery to build on their NLCS-winning core.

Given the state of the Giants and Padres (though both made some threatening additions with Matt Chapman, Blake Snell, and Dylan Cease when things were coming down to the wire), the Diamondbacks set themselves up as the biggest threat to LA -- if not in the regular season, then most certainly again in the postseason. Rodriguez and Montgomery joined Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly and postseason standout Brandon Pfaadt to make a fearsome starting rotation.

But then Rodriguez got hurt. During his March 19 start in spring training, he was taken out after just pitching one inning, received imaging on his back, and started the season on the 15-day IL with a lat strain. However, GM Mike Hazen has alluded to Rodriguez not being able to make a return until May.

The Diamondbacks are still playing well, going 4-3 in the first full week of games, but starting the season without either of their major offseason pitching acquisitions has got to hurt.

The SF Giants calling up Daulton Jefferies

As previously mentioned, the Giants were sort of able to salvage their offseason right at the end by signing Matt Chapman and Blake Snell, getting the better of agent Scott Boras by doling out a couple of very team-friendly contracts. However, both deals came after the Dodgers embarrassed them twice by snaking Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto from them, and getting Snell still didn't fully solve the problem the Giants had (have) with their starting pitching.

The Giants chose to call up Daulton Jefferies on Sunday against the Padres, as Snell still has to prepare for a season after missing all of spring training. Jefferies pitched 14 innings in camp and actually looked pretty good doing it, but that certainly didn't translate to the regular season. He lasted just two innings, gave up nine hits (two home runs) and five earned runs before the Giants took pity on him and replaced him.

Unsurprisingly, the Giants promptly sent Jefferies back down to the minors. He was replaced on the 26-man by reliever Nick Avila, who got a two-inning appearance on April 1 against the Dodgers, during which he gave up three hits and two earned runs. The Giants are 2-5 going into Friday, set to face the same Padres who trounced them during Jefferies' start.

The Angels batting Anthony Rendon at leadoff

How do you solve a problem like Anthony Rendon? Because the Angels might be completely out of ideas. Rendon is their highest-paid player, above even Mike Trout, but he hasn't gotten a hit since July 3 of last year, is frequently injured, and he hates playing baseball. Sounds like a recipe for success, doesn't it?

New Angels manager Ron Washington probably thought he had something cooking when he chose to put Rendon at the top of the lineup. Washington was probably looking at his career .366 OBP — which, to be fair, is pretty good — but maybe he didn't take into account that Rendon has never played in over 60 games in a single season over four years with the Angels, and did we mention that he hates playing baseball? As of Friday morning, he's 0-19 with one walk. Hmm.

Rendon sat on Wednesday and Luis Rengifo took over at leadoff, but we don't yet know if Washington will budge from his strategy when Rendon returns to the lineup. For the Angels' sad, sad sake, we certainly hope he comes to his senses.