Yu Darvish’s comments already prove the Dodgers are in the Padres’ heads

San Diego Padres v Milwaukee Brewers
San Diego Padres v Milwaukee Brewers / John Fisher/GettyImages

Yu Darvish loves the San Diego Padres. It could be because they promised him $108 million until he's 41 years old and he still has some hard feelings toward the Cubs after they traded him following a 2020 season that placed him second in Cy Young voting. It could be that he still feels some kind of way toward the Dodgers, who he had a very rough postseason with in 2017. Regardless, Darvish rides or dies for the Friars. He went as far as to give all of his World Baseball Classic teammates Padres gear, which some still wear around to this day.

The Padres don't seem to be a concern for the Dodgers this year. San Diego's outfield is a mess, they traded Juan Soto away, and they just don't seem ready for the new season. They've been firmly supplanted by the Diamondbacks as LA's biggest divisional threat this year.

Still, the Dodgers seem live in Darvish's head rent-free. He told reporters at Padres spring training that the goal is to "outperform them as much as possible," especially after LA secured his Team Japan compatriots Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Yu Darvish wants the Padres to "outperform the Dodgers as much as possible"

The Dodgers have already shaken new Padres addition Yuki Matsui, another Team Japan alum, who said that LA has captured the imaginations of baseball fans all over Japan and that the Padres have something to prove this season. But the state of this rivalry, similar to the one the Dodgers have with the Giants, seems pretty one-sided. LA already has a team in its absolute prime and two ringers in Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw on the way for the rotation, and San Diego has too many shortstops and too few outfielders.

These two teams will face each other 13 times over five series this season, starting with the Seoul Series in March, and it's hard to imagine how the Padres will ever come out on top. Sure, they've got Darvish and Joe Musgrove, and Matsui was a nice addition to the bullpen, but they don't look all that different from the Padres who went 4-9 against the Dodgers last year.

Darvish and Matsui can dream about outperforming the Dodgers all they want, and it's good that the Dodgers are so clearly taking up so much of their brain space a month before they see each other in a real game. The Padres can fantasize for days; it probably won't change anything on the field.