Corey Seager and Max Scherzer, two shining stars for LA, have found homes elsewhere this offseason leaving the Dodgers in a hole and San Diego ready to strike. The former World Series champs are still a force to be reckoned with in the NL West but finding other players to fill their shoes may not be as easy as they think.
If you take a quick glance at the Padres, you will notice that they have not lost a majority of the key players on their team mainly because some were acquired last season. On the flip side of this, it looks like the Dodgers had a hard time retaining a large portion of their roster albeit most are free agents and could potentially sign back with the club. The only problem here is that the MLB lockdown is in full swing which means teams are not able to sign free agents or renegotiate contracts for any players until an agreement between the MLBPA and MLB executives is reached. I believe this is a good thing for the Padres because now they can take a step back and gain more time to analyze the player market in order to find the missing pieces to their puzzle.
Adam Frazier going to the Mariners could be viewed as a key loss for San Diego but honestly, he didn’t make a huge impact when acquired at the deadline for them to want to keep him anyway. Sure, he was a great fill-in for second base but he failed to produce in a majority of his at-bats with the Padres. In 211 plate appearances with San Diego, Frazier produced a .267 batting average supported by 51 hits, 1 HR, and 11 RBIs. Calling this type of stint abysmal is truly mincing words because I’m sure many fans expected far more from an All-Star like him.
The players acquired from this trade are no more than minor leaguers who have serious headway to make if they ever want to see time in MLB. Other offseason losses for the Padres include Tommy Pham, Daniel Hudson, Vince Velasquez, and Mark Melancon after all of them elected free agency. Aside from Melancon, this group of players didn’t do much to help San Diego and are better off on another team that is desperately in need of help (I hear Baltimore is always hiring). The bullpen needed to be reshaped after a disastrous second half of the season which saw the departure of veteran pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
The Dodgers have an even bigger hole to fill, however, as they lost big names like Albert Pujols, Corey Knebel, Steven Souza, Joe Kelly, and Kenley Jansen to free agency. Renegotiations for another contract aren’t off the table but some of these guys will most likely relocate to a team that they feel will pay them their worth. Meanwhile, the Padres already have their starting rotation and most of their fielders are on long-term contracts which only increases their likelihood of winning the division next year. Gaining a new head coach is also a plus given he brings experience managing an MLB club and will hopefully light a spark under this team to get them going.
The Later Innings
Now at the beginning of an MLB lockdown, restrictions apply for teams that include not being able to trade or sign players until this debate has been settled. Players are not permitted to work out on their club’s premises as well but are allowed to do so with each other outside of this environment which carries a huge advantage for the Padres. Working out and grinding with your teammates is a good way to bond together and help each other improve their game in order to come out guns blazing next season. This season was a huge letdown so I believe it is on the players in tandem with the coaching staff to build back as one and let go of past mistakes.
The Dodgers will most certainly have their hands full this offseason and have already started with offering Chris Taylor a four-year deal worth $60 million. Now it’s just time for the Padres to start swimming in the market and find pitchers to bolster their bullpen as well as potential prospects who could make an immediate impact. All in all, it’s only a matter of time before things start looking up for the Friars ahead of the 2022 MLB season.
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