“Pitchers and catchers report.”

Last week, all of Major League Baseball reported for duty for the 2019 season. It wasn’t until this past Tuesday that the action really started getting interesting. Not from the arid climate of the Arizona desert, or even from the Sunshine State of Florida. Instead, it came from Dodgers Stadium South, also known as San Diego.

Manny Machado, who was holding half of all people associated with the MLB hostage for the last several months, the other half still being held by Bryce Harper, took the money and sunny weather from the Padres. Now, the largest fish in the free agent pond is Harper. While most of the attention and eyes around baseball will shift to him, the Dodgers find themselves already with a pretty stocked and final roster.

There isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to jump back into the Harper hoopla, though there’s a cross-section of fans who wish they would, to combat the 2020 or 2021 version of the Padres. They aren’t expected to contend for an N.L. West championship this year, but with the core of their talent being so young, expectations are for them to be a force in the near future.

While most, if not all, of the responses to Machado signing with the Padres has been congratulatory and positive, I have great reservations about tabing the Padres the next team to win the division not named the Dodgers. My thoughts are rather simple. The clubhouse is not filled with a lot of veteran players to create a positive culture. Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers are the only two that come to mind, but if expectations are for Machado to be THE clubhouse leader, I can see this team falling apart, and doing so within a couple of years.

We all saw what kind of player Machado was in Baltimore, L.A. got its taste of it as well. Does Myers or Hosmer have enough credibility to try to corral Machado in and tone that done? I am not so sure. One thing is for certain, the N.L. West championship will go through Chavez Ravine.

Here’s to the four greatest words in the English language.

Featured Image: Rob Tringali/Getty Images
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