The Dodgers have been quiet. Not too quiet, just quiet. They haven’t signed a big name free agent. They haven’t traded for the face of a franchise. They haven’t done much, but did they really need to?
Teams can always get better, but sometimes, in an attempt to better their year, they sacrifice their future.
The Dodgers didn’t need to trade a top-tier prospect because they had no needs that demanded such actions. They came five runs short of winning the World Series last year and this team, this almighty and historic team, is capable of rectifying that missed opportunity.
Their rivals, however, have not acted in the same way. The Giants, the Padres, the Rockies, and the Diamondbacks have all been affected by the free agent market. Whether it was a big name like Eric Hosmer signing with San Diego, or the D-Backs missing out on signing a big name of their own, the NL West has been redefined.
Here’s how two recent deals will affect the National League Champs.
Eric Hosmer signs with the Padres—This was a deal I always saw coming, but never really understood. Ever since the offseason began, only two teams have been seriously linked to Hosmer, the Padres and the Royals, his former team. The Padres have gotten better, and players like Hosmer are rare. A.J. Preller and the Padres front office needed to make this deal, and they did.
I’m just not sure if it’ll pan out in the way Padres’ fans hope it will.
Wil Myers is a franchise player. I don’t see San Diego ever trading him. Then again, their infield is busy, and they’re going to have to make some moves. Hosmer is an everyday first baseman, meaning that Myers is going to have to move to the outfield or maybe even second or third base. At second, the Padres have Carlos Asuaje, a player with great potential. Third base is strong, as the Padres have recently acquired Chase Headley from the Yankees. They also have Cory Spangenberg, who will get plenty of playing time at the hot corner.
The signing of Hosmer will be good for the Padres. He’s a power-hitter who will bolster the lineup, but his deal, eight years, is a long time. The Padres may not be contending for another four or five seasons, and there’s no telling what they’ll look like by then.
This deal, however, doesn’t affect the Dodgers at all. It merely means that Dodger pitching will be facing one more slugger in 2018, and it’s nothing they aren’t capable of overcoming.
When it comes to the Padres, though, we shouldn’t be asking whether or not this deal makes them contenders in the West. We should be asking whether or not this deal changes things for the Dodgers.
I don’t think it does.
J.D. Martinez signs with the Red Sox—The Dodgers don’t play the Red Sox this season. In fact, the Dodgers won’t be playing the Red Sox at all, unless they meet in the World Series, that is. On Monday, J.D Martinez signed a five-year, $110 million dollar deal to play in Boston, with opt-outs after 2019 and 2020.
Like the Hosmer deal, this signing affects the Dodgers. Unlike the Hosmer signing, it’s not about who Martinez signed with, but rather with who he didn’t.
Dodger fans remember Martinez well, he’s the player that, with the help of Paul Goldschmidt, Robbie Ray and the rest of a strong D-Backs squad, sent the team to the postseason. Martinez was great for Arizona, and he would have made the D-Backs far more of a threat to the Dodgers in 2018 had he re-signed with them.
In 2017, Martinez hit 45 home runs. 29 of those were in a D-Backs uniform, and he did it in only 62 games. The D-Backs are still wild-card contenders, even without Martinez, but I have a feeling that there is a sense of relief in the hearts of Dodger fans, knowing that their team won’t have to face Martinez this season.
The D-Backs are still a threat to the Dodgers this season, but do the Boys in Blue have what it takes to beat them again?
I think they do.
(FOLLOW SARAH ON TWITTER: @SARAHMANINGER)