San Diego’s hopes and dreams are pinned on the shoulders of two superstars in Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr.
The Padres, armed with a revamped starting rotation and one of the league’s deepest lineups, are hoping to seriously challenge the Dodgers for the first time in many, many years. But it’ll take all hands on deck after Los Angeles went out and added Trevor Bauer last week – and MVP-caliber performances from their pair of superstars.
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MLB.com recently ranked the top duos in the league, using Steamers WAR – with Machado and Tatis Jr. clocking in as the third-best tandem in baseball. The only better pairs? Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon of the Angels and Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers.
The fact that the Padres are chasing Betts and Bellinger might sound familiar. Last week, San Diego’s rotation was ranked as the second-best in MLB. The only problem? The staff that earned top billing belongs to none other than the Dodgers.
Here’s what MLB.com had to say about the Padres’ powerful pair:
"Machado and Tatis finished third and fourth, respectively, in the NL MVP vote last year. It was the realization of the Friars’ dreams when they inked Machado to a gargantuan contract with Tatis on the cusp of the big leagues. Now, the left-hand side of the Padres’ infield is nothing short of extraordinary, with Tatis only beginning to scratch his Major League ceiling."
Machado, who might very well be on a path that ends someday in Cooperstown, seems perfectly fine flying under the radar. I’m not sure how that’s still happening, but it is. Now is the chance for him to cement his place as one of the game’s premier players – and he can do so alongside the face of baseball in Tatis.
One of the premier young talents in the game today, Tatis is looking to take that next step in his career. He put up monster numbers last year – and if the Padres have any shot of derailing the Dodgers’ stranglehold on the NL West, he’ll have to match that performance over the course of a full season in 2021.
Right now, you can definitely see why those other pairs are ranked ahead of Machado and Tatis. But by the time the dust settles on this season, don’t be surprised if, for once, the rest of the league is looking up at a couple of Padres.