San Diego Padres news: NL West rivals getting stronger, so what's the next move?

With the Los Angeles Dodgers signing Shohei Ohtani and the Arizona Diamondbacks looking to build off a World Series appearance, what comes next for the San Diego Padres?
A sign held before the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres
A sign held before the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani is a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Arizona Diamondbacks have signed a top-of-the-rotation pitcher and traded for a third baseman. So what comes next for the San Diego Padres?

San Diego Padres must answer to keep up in National League West

The news hasn't been great for the Padres over the last few weeks, and it didn't get any better on Saturday when Ohtani announced he would spending the next decade in Dodger blue. With the Padres trading away Juan Soto and Trent Grisham to the New York Yankees, the lineup has questions, so A.J. Preller still has a mound of work to do.

Who will take over in center field? Where will the Padres find the offense that is now missing without Soto's bat in the lineup? Who takes over in the rotation like Blake Snell, Seth Lugo and Nick Martinez no longer options? These are just some of the questions that have to be solved between now and spring training, so the list for Preller didn't grow shorter when he dealt away Soto. In fact, the deal might have added a couple of to-dos to it.

Sure, the Padres still have a strong core, but there has to be more added to it (especially on the pitching side). With Ohtani signing, it's likely moves will come before the end of the year, and it could be a mad dash for the Padres and other teams looking to improve their rotations.

It can be argued that the NL West has gotten stronger so far this winter, and it's expected the San Francisco Giants won't be quiet this offseason in their quest to get back to the top of the division. Outside of the Colorado Rockies, every team in the division expects to be in the chase for a postseason spot in 2024.

For the Padres, that chase has to speed up soon.