San Diego. A city that has often been thought of as a joke and embarrassment to sports. The Chargers were relocated to Los Angeles due to issues regarding Qualcomm Stadium, and also never won a Super Bowl during their tenure in SD.
The Padres have been to the World Series before, but have never come out victorious. Rumors surfaced of potentially re-locating the Padres as well, which would leave San Diego with no professional sports team. But, it never happened and it seems like San Diego is back in business. The Padres weren’t a “highlight reel” team to watch during the 2010s, but they then got Fernando Tatis Jr, Manny Machado, and two elite pitchers joining them for the 2021 campaign.
The 2020 Season
Coming into the shortened season of 2020, very few people had the Padres winning 37 of their 60 games, or advancing to the second round of the postseason. They were swept by the World Champ Dodgers, but didn’t keep their heads down. The Padres kept game 2 competitive, but games 1 and 3 featured no rhythm. Fernando Tatis Jr and Manny Machado both won Silver Slugger awards, the first for the Padres since 2012. The light and hope that these two brought to the organization and city has been huge so far. Giving fans a winning season with a postseason run, along with a team that plays with supreme confidence and swag will lead to big things soon. Because of what the Padres did this past season, the front office found the confidence to start investing in a contender.
So far, what the Padres have done in the offseason is near perfect. Acquiring two great pitchers with playoff experience is what this team needed. The first, being Blake Snell. Many know Snell for being the one that the Tampa Bay Rays surprisingly pulled during Game 6 of the World Series. Snell was on the trading block after that event, and it looks like San Diego could end up being a great fit for him. The former AL Cy Young Award Winner had an ERA of 3.24 in 2020, and was a solid pitcher when it mattered. As for Yu Darvish, we saw what he did for the Texas Rangers, L.A. Dodgers, and Chicago Cubs. He has made a few mistakes here and there, but overall, he is still an elite and underrated pitcher. The amount of talent that this roster now has brings the contender of how deep they can go into the playoffs. Sure, winning the Wild Card was special for this organization, but they now have talent both offensively and defensively. There are no excuses anymore. The talent has been brought, the question now is how these stars are utilized.
From my side, I’m pretty hyped to see this team play next season. As I previously mentioned, the Padres play with a swag that not many other teams have, and now bring in two exciting pitchers, making games they pitch in automatic box office. I think that if this team stays healthy, and plays consistent ball, that we shouldn’t be leaving them out of the World Series contenders conversation. From a record standpoint, I can see this team easily around the 100 win mark. Tatis Jr is a young superstar, while Machado, Snell, and Darvish are all veterans that know how to keep their composure in tight games. They might not be what the Dodgers or Braves are yet, but their play can easily dictate the way baseball fans look at their chance at taking it all.
Top Photo: Denis Poroy/Getty Images