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Padres Go All-In on Chasing Down Dodgers

December 29, 2020
Darvish to join Padres

The San Diego Padres had a pretty good 2020.

There was last season’s grand slam home run streak, the win over the Cardinals in the Wild Card series, and a runner-up finish to the Dodgers in both the National League West and the Division Series. The Dodgers have now won the division eight straight years.

As of a week ago, there were plenty of reasons to like this young Padres team and the direction they were headed. Now there are reasons to love this Padres team and their chances to finally topple the Dodgers in 2021.

San Diego is no longer the team of the future. It is the team of today.

Snell Trade

What do you do when your big starting pitcher acquisition at the August deadline is going to miss the 2021 season because of Tommy John surgery? If you’re Padres general manager A.J. Preller, you go out and get an even better starting pitcher in Blake Snell.

No Mike Clevinger this year? No problem. Two days after Christmas, the Padres got a late gift by trading three of their top prospects to Tampa Bay for the 2018 Cy Young Award winner, Snell.

The just-turned 28-year-old still has three years on his current contract and gives the Padres a true ace that can go toe-to-toe with Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

But that’s not all.

Darvish Trade

One day later, Preller and the Padres secured a deal with the Chicago Cubs for 2020 Cy Young runner-up Yu Darvish and his personal catcher Victor Caratini. Darvish opened the 2020 season at +825 in online betting to win the NL Cy Young. He was at +110 when the season ended.

Except for half a season with the Dodgers in 2017, Darvish has spent his entire career in hitter-friendly ballparks and still has a career ERA of just 3.47. Now he joins the rotation in the very pitcher-friendly Petco Park.

The top of the rotation now has Snell, Darvish, and Dinelson Lamet – who finished fourth last season in Cy Young voting – to compete against the Dodgers’ trio of Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Julio Urias.

But that’s still not all.

Korean Star Kim Signs

On the same day Darvish joined the Padres, word broke that the best international free agent on the market was also joining the Padres. Infielder Ha-Seong Kim hit 30 home runs in Korea last season, and despite being only 25 years old, he has seven seasons of professional baseball experience.

With Manny Machado at third base and Fernando Tatis, Jr. at shortstop, Kim will play second base in San Diego.

2021 World Series Betting

The online betting odds still have the Dodgers as the World Series favorite at +400. The Yankees are currently second in World Series futures betting at +600. Right behind those two are the new-look San Diego Padres at +800.

Word on the street is that the Padres are still looking to make deals. So we might see San Diego creep even closer to its nemesis that lives just two hours up the Golden State Freeway.