Juan Soto's Dodgers comment will kick Padres rivalry up a notch
By Adam Weinrib
First, the Padres won the offseason over the Dodgers.
Now, they're winning the quote war? This aggression will not stand.
Early in the 2023 season, the Dodgers' plan to turn things over to the youth movement and wait one more year to make Shohei Ohtani-sized free agent ripples seems to be working. Miguel Vargas, prior to succumbing to a typical early-season malady, had become an on-base machine. James Outman has very obviously been the team's hottest rookie, and looks like he could be legging out triples all summer long.
The Padres? They're just chilling, though. They know the Dodgers won't be a walkover, but they're confident in their unrivaled collection of superstars, even though Juan Soto is still finding his sea legs while newcomer Xander Bogaerts carries the load.
In case the Pads' position wasn't already clear, Soto further clarified it on Tuesday night before TBS' broadcast of Mets-Padres.
Juan Soto stokes Dodgers rivalry flames: "They should be worrying about us."
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Right now, nobody's worried about anyone. Both teams are progressing at their own pace.
Plus, if the Dodgers were going to worry about something, they'd be freaking out over the X Man and whether or not he was gon' give it to ya; Bogaerts piled up four homers in his first 12 games. Nobody sweats .190 hitters, Mr. Soto.
Last season, we prematurely declared the Dodgers-Padres rivalry "over" after the regular season. Even the blockbuster acquisition of Soto didn't seem to change either team's fortunes, and the Padres finished an extremely poor 5-14 in the season series.
Of course, everything changed in October, further spurring Peter Seidler on in his quest to pack the Padres' payroll with more money than the Mets'. Trea Turner doesn't want our $300 million? Fine! Maybe Aaron Judge will want our $400 million! He doesn't? Pay Yu Darvish and Xander Bogaerts and don't stop there.
As long as there's more money in San Diego's coffers, this will always be a worthy rivalry. But how about everybody just worries about themselves for a while before deciding what the newfound pecking order is?