A big topic of conversation this offseason has been the budding rivalry between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. After the Dodgers dominated the Padres in the regular season and won the division by a whopping 22 games, the two teams met in the NLDS, where the Padres ousted LA in four games.
This offseason, the teams have taken different approaches. While the Padres have further reloaded, adding All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts on an 11-year, $280 million deal, the Dodgers have remained quiet. They’ve made a few veteran additions, but suffered much more loss than gain.
Because of the two drastically different offseasons, a big question has arose regarding the gap potentially closing between the two teams. And on the MLB Network, Harold Reynolds and Matt Vasgersian discussed that topic, and both feel that the gap is significantly closed.
“That’s closed quite a bit,” Reynolds said. “They just have a lot of question marks. Will their top stars be great? Yeah, no doubt about it. But we’ll see after you get through, like, five in the lineup, what’s gonna happen? Who’s gonna play and what not?”
Reynolds is also concerned about the pitching staff without Walker Buehler.
“With Walker Buehler being out, that’s a big difference. He was, like, really coming on, truly was that ace of that staff right now”
While he still believes the Dodgers will be good, he thinks the gap between two teams is much, much closer.
“They’re always gonna be there,” Reynolds said about the Dodgers, “but I think the Padres have significantly closed the gap. If you just look at the star player component, it’s significantly closed the gap.”
If we’re saying the gap is a 22-game difference in the division, then I would have to agree the Padres have closed it quite a bit. I don’t think anyone is expecting the Dodgers to win 111 games, and win the division by 22 games. However, I don’t think the loss of Buehler is going to have much an impact, considering he last pitched for the team in June of last year and they still went on to win 111 games. I do think the greater loss comes in the form of Trea Turner, and then this spring training, the loss of Gavin Lux.
But if the Dodgers are able to get some contributions from a few of their young guys, they shouldn’t have too much trouble filling in for their losses. But, I think it’s pretty obvious that the gap is closed, because the Dodgers aren’t going to win 111 games, and the Padres — adding Bogaerts and getting Fernando Tatis Jr. back — will likely be better than they were in 2022. So it should make for a very fun division race!
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