The Los Angeles Dodgers have had a rather lowkey offseason compared to years past, when they acquired the likes of Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts.
The Dodgers are trying to stay under the luxury tax threshold.
In Bob Nightengale’s most recent column on USA Today’s website, he noted that, “The worst-kept secret in baseball is that the Los Angeles Dodgers are trying to stay below the luxury tax to jump in with all of their might to sign Shohei Ohtani as a free agent after the season. Their stiffest competition? The San Diego Padres, who also plan to be all in.”
The Padres currently have baseball’s third-highest payroll, entering the 2023 season, behind only the New York Yankees and New York Mets. The Dodgers are fifth in payroll, with the Philadelphia Phillies fourth.
Despite winning a franchise record 111 games a season ago and finishing with a record 22 games better than the Padres, the Dodgers fell to the Padres in four games in the National League Division Series last fall.
The Padres have been rather aggressive in recent years. Since signing free agents Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer, the Padres have traded for Juan Soto, Josh Hader, Josh Bell, Mike Clevinger, Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, Brandon Drury and Joe Musgrove, and signed Xander Bogaerts.
The Padres have not won the National League West division since 2006. The Dodgers have won the division nine times over the last ten years.
It appears this new rivalry is just getting started. A battle for Ohtani next winter could be in store. Of course, the Padres and Dodgers won’t be the only teams interested. The Mets have already been linked to having interest in Ohtani, once he hits free agency.
Check out the latest episode of the Jack Vita Show for more MLB offseason analysis!
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