With Machado signing with Padres the Dodgers get a villain to replace Bumgarner
To do a rivalry right you need two things. The teams need to be competitive and they each need a villain for the fan base to hate on. For Dodger fans, that villain has been Madison Bumgarner who sports three World Series Rings and had the kind of October that Dodger fans can only dream that Clayton Kershaw could have had. While Kershaw has clearly been the best Dodger during the same time period, it is hard to paint Clayton as a villain so I think if we polled Giant fans, Yasiel Puig might have been their villain even if he wasn’t the best player on the team.
As the Giants fade into a battle for last place hating on Madison Bumgarner won’t mean much because who cares. The Giants will eventually emerge from their slumber but the next few years should be similar to the 2005 – 2008 period when they restocked for their World Series titles.
Enter in Manny Machado the Three Hundred Million Dollar Man, a man that most of baseball already despises, who played for the Dodgers and already failed spectacularly in the 2018 World Series. The Padres already had one of the brightest futures in baseball, and bringing on board one of the best players in baseball just accelerated that future to the present. Those Dodger fans who already booed him for his mercurial style toward playing baseball will continue to boo him, but probably with an intense booing not heard since Barry Bonds was playing around as the best player in baseball history. Along with those folks will be the defenders of Manny Machado who will boo him for being a pain in the Dodger side as he is bound to do during his Padre run.
I welcome all this. It is a better baseball world when you have rivalry’s and the Padres haven’t’ stepped up to the plate since 2006. It will also put more pressure on the Dodger front office to not be complacent.
Manny may have chased the money but I’ll still give him a hat tip for picking a franchise that could really use a superstar like him.
On the flip side can any current Dodger play their part of villain? Puig was clearly that guy, other team bases hated him, and I won’t be surprised if the most ardent Puig supporter suddenly realizes that his antics aren’t as much fun if he’s not doing them as a Dodger. I looked over the roster and the only person I can think of is Walker Buehler. He kind of has that cocky attitude that every villain needs and the skills to back it up. Verdugo seems like someone who could be annoying but he has to be great, and I’m not sure Verdugo can be great.
Of course, if Joe Kelly were to break a Machado rib, that would probably go a long way toward making him a villain.