The Dodgers are coming off three consecutive NL West titles, and at least one player in the clubhouse doesn’t see that trend changing any time soon.
“Talent-wise, we’re at the top of baseball,” Dodgers slugger Adrian Gonzalez told MLB.com.
“As far as other teams improving, that’s not for us to care about. We have the talent and depth to win the division again,” he added. “We’re in a position to win a division like we did the last three years.”
[PAVLOVIC: Adjustment period for Giants, Cueto? 'Going to take some time']
Since the inception of the NL West in 1969, no organization has finished first four straight years.
But when looking at the additions the Diamondbacks made (Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller, Tyler Clippard, Jean Segura) and the acquisitions the Giants made (Jeff Samardzija, Johnny Cueto, Denard Span), Gonzalez could only think of the 2015 San Diego Padres.
“Last year there was all this talk about the Padres being so good,” the Los Angeles first baseman said, referring to an offseason haul that included Derek Norris, Matt Kemp, Will Middlebrooks, Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrel, James Shields and Wil Myers.
“You’re always going to have so-called experts saying this is the team to beat, they improved the most. At the end of the day, we will be right in the middle of the race come the end of September and in the best position to get into the playoffs.”
That Padres team in 2015 finished fourth place in the NL West at 74-88, which was worse than their two priors seasons.
Gonzalez, a five-time All-Star, finished with a .275 average last year, which included 28 home runs and 90 RBI. The Dodgers’ season ended at the hands of the New York Mets in Game 5 of the NLDS.
“We have probably the deepest team in baseball,” the 33-year-old infielder said. “I think we’ll be able to afford almost any injury. …I think we’ve got some good players and the team’s going to be just as good as in the past, if not better.”