The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees may be the most hyped rivalry in baseball, but the West Coast has the best rivalry right now.
“I know,” said Blake Snell, “she’s been a bit of a fight lately.”
In the blue corner, the Dodgers, defending champions of the World Series. In the brown corner, with the bats raised as high as the Coronado Bridge, the San Diego Padres.
Snell spoke on a video conference Wednesday morning as the Padres welcomed the Cy Young winner and his new staff ace to spring training. What Snell had to say in the morning faded into a footnote that night, when the Padres agreed with shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. the longest contract in baseball history: 14 years, for $ 340 million. Dollars.
For this season, the agreement does not change anything. Tatis would have been the Padres shortstop anyway, and the team could have signed him for $ 1 million. Fangraphs projects the Dodgers with a 98% chance of reaching the playoffs and the Padres with a 93%; no other team has a clearer path to October.
The Padres imported Snell, Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove to their starting rotation this winter.
“We’ve figured it out,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said last week when he introduced Trevor Bauer: We saw Snell come along, who won his Cy Young three years ago, and we responded with Bauer, who won his Cy Young last year.
With the signing of Tatis, the Padres handed a megaphone to their fans and said: Trust us, San Diego! We are not here for a playoff or two; We’re here to drive the Dodgers crazy for the rest of the decade!
The Padres have a sports city to themselves. And what sweeter way to win than to beat Los Angeles, the city to which the San Diego NBA and NFL teams fled?