The MLB landscape has gone through some serious changes this offseason. Big names have found new homes, even with a historically slow free agency market. And now the Trevor Bauer blockbuster signing may have opened the floodgates for a flurry of last-minute moves across the league.
Now less than two weeks from the start of spring training, let’s take a look at how the Dodgers stack up against the best teams in the National League.
Notable additions: Nolan Arenado
The Cardinals added themselves to the list of contenders with their trade for superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado. They’ve been as consistent as it gets, finishing well over .500 in every season since 2008. The Nolan acquisition helps to cement the hot corner for the Cards, especially after Matt Carpenter hit only .186 last season. The duo of Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt should be formidable, but the biggest weakness for this team remains the starting rotation. If Jack Flaherty can bounce back after an abysmal 2020, their ceiling may be a little higher than it currently is, but he’s going to need help.
Notable additions: Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco, James McCann
It’s quite possible that we have the Mets way too low on these rankings, but until they prove they can remain healthy and live up to their potential, they will remain out of the top 3. That being said, New York has taken a page from San Diego and pushed all of their chips to the center of the table. Their trade for Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor cemented what has been an impressive offseason of acquisitions, and should make the NL East a fun race to watch between them and the Atlanta Braves.
If they can remain healthy, and that’s a big if, New York will be in the playoff hunt when September rolls around. Until they prove they can, however, the Mets are just the best of the rest in an extremely top-heavy National League.
Notable additions: Marcell Ozuna (re-sign), Charlie Morton
There are only three teams that should be considered World Series contenders out of the National League this season, and the Braves are one of them. After coming up one win shy of a trip to the World Series in 2020, Atlanta comes into the new season with most of the same young core. Re-signing Marcell Ozuna to a 4-year deal was huge for a team already loaded with offensive firepower in Acuña, Freeman, and Albies. Their starting rotation only figures to improve as all of their young pitchers get another full season under their belt, which is a scary thought given how Ian Anderson and Max Fried have looked thus far in their young careers.
Notable additions: Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove, Jurickson Profar (re-sign)
These aren’t your typical Padres, they’re going for it in 2021. After getting a taste of postseason ball last season for the first time since 2006, they went all-in these past few months as they try to catch up to the Dodgers in the NL West. The additions of Darvish, Snell, and Musgrove will give them one of the best rotations in the league, but there is still plenty of work to do before they challenge the Dodgers.
Can Tatis and Machado bounce back from their lackluster performances in the postseason? Will the starting rotation be healthy enough to last a full 162 game season? San Diego invested a lot to be a top contender this year, and they’ll definitely be exciting to follow. However, that may still not be enough to get past the reigning champs.
Notable additions: Trevor Bauer, David Price (opted out of 2020 season), Corey Knebel
The Dodgers sent a message to the rest of the National League by signing Trevor Bauer: they aren’t content with just one World Series trophy.
Heading into the offseason, they were the early favorites to repeat as champions, and they’ve only gotten better — even with the departures of longtime Dodgers in Kiké Hernández and Joc Pederson. There are no glaring weaknesses to think of on this roster, and adding a pitcher of Bauer’s caliber only widened the gap between them and the rest of the league. Anything short of another World Series title will feel like an utter failure at this point, as Los Angeles has turned itself into a true dynasty.
The National League will be fun to watch this coming season, just don’t be surprised to see Los Angeles back in the fall classic come October.