The Dodgers won eight consecutive National League Western Division crowns from 2013-2020.
That streak was broken last year when the San Francisco Giants won 107 games, and the division along with it. The Dodgers came up one game short from a ninth straight NL West title. However, they’d get their revenge in October beating the Giants in five games in the division series.
While the streak was broken, it was by a team that no one expected to contend in the division. The San Diego Padres were expected to be the biggest threat to the Dodgers in the division, but their second-half collapse turned out to be one of the most epic in recent NL West history.
So who is the biggest threat to the Dodgers in 2022? Are the Dodgers so stacked that there is no threat?
As we all saw last year, anything is possible, and injuries are a part of the game. So let’s go through the opponents.
The Arizona Diamondbacks respectfully pose no threat, as they were among the worst teams in the league last year losing 110 games. They lost 24 consecutive road games, and the front office didn’t do much this off-season. They’re not expected to contend at all this year.
The Colorado Rockies went 74-87 last year, which is actually a little surprising considering they split or lost 16 straight road series. They also began the season on the road with a 6-33 record. The Rockies did have some key departures such as Trevor Story and Jon Gray.
The team however added former NL MVP Kris Bryant this off-season. Bryant signed a seven-year, $182 million deal with Colorado. While Coors Field certainly helps in the statistics department, the Rockies aren’t a credible threat to the Dodgers. Not yet, anyway.
Now, the San Diego Padres are interesting. After the team posted a 66-49 record last year, they only went 13-34 the rest of the season. This offseason the team parted ways with manager Jayce Tingler and replaced him with Bob Melvin. Superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. is expected to miss about three months after having surgery on his broken left wrist.
San Diego traded for Luke Voit, and should get several players back from injury such as Mike Clevinger this season. The DH spots will be a nice addition for many NL teams as they can add an extra bat. The Padres come in an interesting spot, and I will not be shocked if they are contenders for a postseason spot.
But I think the Dodgers are still the better team. The Padres always seem to kick it up a notch when they play the Dodgers, so there will be 19 interesting matchups in 2022.
Lastly, we look at the San Francisco Giants, the defending NL West champs. Their 2021 campaign was amazing, winning 107 games and shocking all of baseball. This offseason Buster Posey retired, and they had some key departures such as Kevin Gausman and Bryant.
San Francisco’s biggest acquisition this offseason was left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodon, formerly of the White Sox, who pitched a no-hitter last season. The Giants also added old friend Joc Pederson. As you all may remember, the Giants current president of baseball operations is Farhan Zaidi, the former Dodgers general manager.
The Giants will probably not post 107 wins again this year, but they do have a nice roster that has the ability to compete. The rivalry between Los Angeles and San Francisco was a little quiet over the last handful of years, but last season, it was really amplified as the two sides had the best two records in the league, and met in the postseason for a historic series. The Giants will certainly compete, but knocking off the Dodgers as division favorites is unlikely in my eyes.
The Dodgers will be the favorites to win the West, but of course winning any Major League division is a hard task. However, the biggest threats personally I’d say are the Giants followed by the Padres. The Rockies and Diamondbacks don’t pose any credible threats at all.
Cactus League play continues Friday, as the Dodgers take on the Padres at 6:05 p.m. Pacific. Julio Urias, who led the league in wins last year, will get the start. It is his first start this Spring.
The Dodgers will face right hander Nick Martinez.