The Padres have, predictably, been very aggressive this winter. Their aggressiveness was pushed into overdrive over the past two days. Acquiring two aces, Blake Snell and Yu Darvish, gives San Diego the best rotation in baseball, at least on paper. Both players have three years of control remaining and should help a youthful but talented stable of arms ease their way into the major leagues. Chief among those who will be joining the Padres rotation in the near future is MacKenzie Gore, who ranks among the top prospects in baseball, but others will certainly aid the pursuit of a championship in San Diego in the near future. This club is now built for playoff success and will pose a very real threat to everyone in the National League, including the Dodgers.
The Braves certainly have a talented roster and should not feel pressured to match the aggressiveness displayed by the Padres, but San Diego should not be taken lightly with their recent additions. They have a talented roster and the National League now likely boasts three of the top 3-4 teams in all of baseball with the Dodgers, Braves, and Padres all looking very strong. It will be interesting to see how Atlanta looks when they break camp, and just how many additions will be made to an already impressive roster.
The Braves are not likely to roster Charlie Culberson in 2021. The utility man built a cult following during his tenure in Atlanta and will be missed in some respects. He left behind a bevvy of memorable moments in a Braves uniform and focusing on those alone makes this news much more noteworthy than it probably should be, but either way, best of luck to Charlie in Texas.
As Kris writes, the Braves need a more effective iteration of Will Smith in 2021.
So what should we expect from Smith in 2021? It is not unreasonable to expect a bounce back who will hopefully be healthy and get a more normal Spring Training even if the regular season is delayed. Steamer projects Smith to be worth 0.6 fWAR while posting a 3.69 ERA and a 3.79 FIP in 63 innings. ZiPS has Smith pegged for a 3.40 ERA/FIP and an ERA- of 75. ZiPS also has his K-rate jumping back up to 12.9 which would be a welcome sight. Both of these projections essentially see Smith as a quite-good-but-not-great reliever, somewhere around the 80th-90th percentile.
The final deal:
Padres get: RHP Yu Darvish, C Victor Caratini
Cubs get: RHP Zach Davies, SS Reginald Preciado (Padres’ No. 11 prospect per MLB Pipeline), OF Owen Caissie (No. 13), OF Ismael Mena (No. 15), SS Yeison Santana (No. 16)
The Padres also add a top prospect from the KBO.
Where’d all that ‘stupid money’ go?