The San Diego Padres have bragging rights over the Los Angles Dodgers after they eliminated the 111-win juggernaut in the NLDS.
While both teams finished the season without a championship and Los Angeles owned San Diego in the regular season, the Padres advanced farther in the playoffs and topped the Dodgers pretty handily in the playoffs; when head-to-head record actually matters.
After a gutting NLCS loss to the Phillies, the Padres should hold their heads high. Not only is the roster built for another deep playoff run, but general manager A.J. Preller will likely make more high-profile moves to better position the club for a World Series run.
While Preller isn’t afraid to spend, he doesn’t have the Dodgers’ payroll.
It’s almost unfathomable a team as star-studded as LA bowed out in the middle of October. With perennial championship aspirations, Padres fans should expect the Dodgers to go big-name hunting this offseason. It’s what they do.
While San Diego diehards normally wouldn’t care how the Dodgers spend their money, their rumored offseason masterplan is worrisome.
Try to picture Aaron Judge in Dodger blue.
The Dodgers could target Aaron Judge in free agency. What does that mean for Mookie Betts?
According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the Dodgers could become “serious players” for Judge. How would Los Angeles afford this year’s most coveted free agent? Well, if Trea Turner, Justin Turner (club option), Clayton Kershaw and Craig Kimbrel leave, you’d be talking about $100 million coming off the payroll.
That’d be more than enough to make Judge a viable offer.
Should the Dodgers pry Judge from the Yankees and other suitors, Feinsand understands Mookie Betts, LA’s everyday right fielder, would be open to a move to second base — the position he was originally drafted to play out of high school in 2011.
Yes, the Padres eliminated the Dodgers and are probably numb to facing them at this point, but the thought of Judge, the future AL MVP, joining the NL West champs is pretty daunting. And it’s not a farfetched idea by Andrew Friedman.
With Cody Bellinger’s future in question, the Dodgers might not even need Betts to change positions. Judge played 78 games in center field this season. Assuming LA is thinking outside the box, though, Trea Turner’s potential departure could force Gavin Lux to shift to shortstop, thus leaving second base open.
The offseason hasn’t even started yet and the Yankees and Giants (Judge grew up 90 miles east of San Francisco) are probably the favorites to win the Judge sweepstakes. However, the Dodgers have a propensity to land prized free agents out of the blue and signing Judge would make them a the prohibitive World Series favorites.
Normally that wouldn’t mean anything, but Judge is arguably the best player in the game and fresh off hitting .311/.425/.686/ with 62 home runs, a new American League record, 131 RBI, 133 runs scored and a 10.6 WAR this season.
If there was ever a signing the Dodgers could make to instill fear in Padres fans after losing to San Diego in the playoffs, it’s No. 99.