San Diego’s Putting Together a Real Challenge
In my earlier years, the San Diego Padres weren’t much more than a footnote in Major League Baseball. The years of Tony Gwynn and the successes of the 20th Century had passed. The Padres team I saw growing up simply wasn’t good. However, something’s changed over the last five years, a change that has captured my attention and has made San Diego home to perhaps MLB’s hottest team.
It really started three seasons ago with the free agent signing of star first baseman, Eric Hosmer. The next season, they made another free agent signing in superstar third baseman, Manny Machado. These were signals that the Padres were intending to become serious players in the Dodgers-dominated NL West. Just that idea in itself is slightly laughable, but the Padres have backed those convictions up, with the emergence of Fernando Tatis Jr. and Dinelson Lamet from their prospect pool, as well as other key acquisitions like Tommy Pham.
But now, the Padres really do mean business. Over the last seven days, the Padres have traded for both Blake Snell and Yu Darvish, a former Cy Young Award winner and finalist, respectively. This is a sign that the team nicknamed “Slam Diego” for their illustrious hitting is gearing up for a deep playoff run after reinforcing their starting pitching, their weakest area, if you could call it that.
As the National League’s hottest and fastest rising team, teams have to understand that, even if they already were, they need to pay attention to the San Diego Padres and give them some respect. They also signed Ha-Seong Kim, the top Korean prospect this offseason, with yet another statement of intent that not only is the team good, but the team has depth (Kim is a shortstop, but Tatis Jr. already has that position covered).
Now, the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers need to watch their backs, because Slam Diego is raring for their crown as NL West Champions, and if their offseason acquisitions are any indication, they’re pulling zero punches.