English Premier League
For years now, the San Diego Padres have been chasing the Los Angeles Dodgers for the lead in the NL West. It's been a "Big brother vs. little brother" type of rivalry ever since the new management in San Diego took over and decided they want to win baseball games. The Dodgers were just starting to get really good again around 2015, which is when the Padres started their current regime. They made the most lopsided trade we have seen in a long time in MLB, when they traded washed-up starting pitcher James Shields for White Sox prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. Now granted, Tatis has been suspended for taking PEDs and cheating, so we will see if he is actually as good as he was, but it still jumpstarted the organization to start winning again.
In recent years, they have spent millions and millions of dollars to reach the level of Los Angeles. Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado are two guys that immediately come to mind when you talk about huge signings for this team. Then, of course, they traded for guys like Mike Clevinger, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Josh Hader, Juan Soto, and Josh Bell. This is a franchise that has done everything and anything to win their first World Series title but has come up short every year to the dreaded Dodgers in the division.
The Padres have gone a combined 16-32 against the Dodgers in the regular season over the last three years.
Will they finally slay the boogeyman in 2023? While they did beat LA in the NLDS this past year, they still haven't managed to win a division title. I think this may be the year that they finally can. Xander Bogaerts is the latest dude they have signed to a massive contract, and he brings a force to a lineup that already features Machado, Tatis Jr., Soto, Trent Grisham, and Jake Cronenworth. The pitching rotation features Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Snell, Seth Lugo, and Nick Martinez.
The Dodgers are laying -135 in this division right now at most sportsbooks. Obviously, they are still extremely talented and can throw money around wherever they would like to. However, San Diego proved they can beat LA in the NLDS, and they got the proverbial monkey off of their back. At +130, I don't think they are that much "worse" than the Dodgers, and perhaps LA will take it easier in the regular season now that their franchise-record 111-win season came crashing down. Maybe they'll save their players for the playoffs and not focus hard on the regular season.
The Giants would have been contenders, but all of their signings fell through in the offseason, and I don't think they have enough to win the division over LA or SD. We don't even have to talk about the Diamondbacks or Rockies, two organizations that are stuck in the mud right now. To me, it all comes down to these two teams, and I'll take the plus-money with San Diego to win the NL West.
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