Are Rival Clubs Outmaneuvering the Dodgers this Winter?

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Just more of the same in the land of the Dodgers‘ offseason, quiet and seemingly content to sit back and watch it all go by. While fans may internally understand this, sometimes it’s hard to watch other teams make big splashes, as the Milwaukee Brewers did on Thursday.

Of course, the Brewers needed to go all in. Last year, the Brew Crew finished with a respectable 86-76 record and second place in the NL Central, six games behind the Chicago Cubs. That wasn’t quite enough to get them into the Wild Card round of the playoffs. They have not been to the playoffs since they lost in the NLCS in 2011.

Obviously, they are not the only team that went for it. Teams who were in the playoffs added to their roster. The New York Yankees were within one game of the World Series and went out and traded for Giancarlo Stanton. The World Champion Houston Astros got another starting pitcher. The Cubs added Brandon Morrow. The Colorado Rockies added a closer in Wade Davis.

What it really boils down to, though, is if any of those additions made those teams clearly better than the Dodgers, or clear World Series contenders. In the case of both the Astros and the Yankees, indeed it would seem that these moves would keep them at the top of their respective divisions and competing against each other to make it to the World Series.

In the National League, as of yet, there isn’t really a team that you can point to that is that much better than the Dodgers. Jon Morosi did go so far to say that the Brewers were now World Series contenders, but I would counter that they still need more pitching to get them over that hump.

The Cubs essentially traded out Wade Davis for Brandon Morrow. While we all know what an incredible year Morrow had with the Dodgers last season, there is no guarantee that he will perform the same in 2018. (There are more rumors that Yu Darvish is going to sign with the Cubs, but nothing official yet). The Rockies got Davis for the back of their bullpen, but with no other major changes it’s tough to see how they could improve enough to be better than Los Angeles.

Arizona has made no changes yet, and may very well be without J.D. Martinez, their deadline acquisition that helped them to second place in the division, but still wasn’t enough to beat the Dodgers in the NLDS. The San Francisco Giants have made quite a few additions this season, including adding Andrew McCutchen, Evan Longoria and Austin Jackson. But they still have some more rebuilding to do, especially in the pitching department, before they are able to compete with the Dodgers.

While the Washington Nationals have not made any moves on the player side, they did get a brand new manager. The Nationals are loaded with talent, but have failed to win a playoff series with the personnel that they have. However, the new managerial move could be the catalyst to finally give the Dodgers a run for their money this season.

All in all, none of us know what the season will bring for any team out there. Despite not making big moves, the Dodgers are well suited to be in the exact position they were last season—top of the division, and World Series contenders. And if there is a need for some additions at the trade deadline, they still have a little money and prospects to go out and get a player that would put them over the top.

The one thing we can all agree on is it is almost time for the season to start, and all are ready to see how this is all going to play out.

(FOLLOW ANDY ON TWITTER: @DODGERSANDYINPA)

 

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