San Diego Padres Got Better, But So Did the Rest of the NL West

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Eric Hosmer
PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Eric Hosmer /

The San Diego Padres, as of right now, could very well be considered the cost-effective winners of the 2018 MLB offseason. They definitely made themselves better, but so did the rest of an already tough division.

When AJ Preller paid below market value for a player of Eric Hosmer‘s caliber, he made the San Diego Padres a much better team, in multiple facets. Leadership, offense, defense; you name it, he brings it to the table.

Add in the fact that they signed him to a $20 million per year average, and to a back-loaded deal in case this rebuild doesn’t work out. If the Padres’ aren’t contenders by 2022, they can ship Hosmer off to a buyer at the trade deadline and start the whole thing over.

But we’ve already laid out that process, at length. Same goes for Freddy Galvis. Bringing in the soon-to-be free agent, to play out his contract year in a lineup that should afford him with plenty of RBI opportunities, as well as to showcase his above-average, borderline-elite, defensive skills.

If he shines this season in San Diego, there’s a good chance the Friars won’t be able to afford him next season. Not like that would be too much of a problem with the anticipated arrival of Luis Urias, and then Fernando Tatis, Jr, who both play shortstop, as well as second-base for Urias.

Chase Headley and Bryan Mitchell both figure to play large roles for the team this season. And even in the case that Headley gets traded before the season begins, his value would still be revealing itself in the return Preller would hypothetically get back for the veteran third baseman.

The Padres got better but so did the rest of the division

We have to begin with the additions that the San Francisco Giants made this offseason. After an uncharacteristically awful 2017, the Giants were not planning on going through a drawn-out rebuilding phase.

They went out and added All-Stars in Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen, and a solid bench-piece/platoon-outfielder, Austin Jackson. They added Tony Watson to their bullpen, as well. The Giants figure to be very much involved in the conversation again this season.

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The Colorado Rockies have built one of the strongest, deepest teams in all of MLB.

In addition to the stable of superstars they have stashed away in the mountains, they re-signed longtime Rockie, Carlos Gonzalez to a $10 million, one-year deal, and brought in Wade Davis to solidify their closer role.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are another deep, homegrown team that filled minor holes in their stacked lineup that needed to be filled.

They brought in Steven Souza, Jr. and Jarrod Dyson to play in the outfield in the absence of J.D. Martinez, who signed with Boston, and brought in Alex Avila to play catcher.

We can’t forget those other guys

And then, of course, we have the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Matt Kemp is back in LA, after a trade with the Atlanta Braves, and figures to stick around for the foreseeable future.  Otherwise, this will be virtually the same group that took them to the World Series, losing in seven games to the Houston Astros.

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The San Diego Padres certainly will be a better team than they were last season with the additions that they made, as well as the rapid development of some of their young prospects.

We’ll just have to see if they can keep up with quite possibly the toughest division in the National League.