While this site is all about the San Francisco Giants, they have made hardly any moves worth noting this offseason. The Rival Dodgers have, weakening the Giants/Dodgers rivalry. So let’s discuss that.
When I found out the Dodgers had traded Yasiel Puig, I had a few emotions come through as a San Francisco Giants fan. The first one was laughter.
The Dodgers traded away three players and a solid prospect that absolutely murdered the NL West and the Giants specifically. They got in return, a horrible contract that they’ll most certainly dump anyways. All just to make room for Bryce Harper.
To be honest, this Dodgers team is no more talented than the Nationals teams that couldn’t get past the divisional round in that 2012-2017 time frame. You could argue the only thing the Dodgers have over those Nationals teams at the moment is the bullpen. The pitching is there, and the marginal offense. But inserting Harper into that team after what they’ve removed doesn’t make them World Series winners. Not close.
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OK, so let’s stop analyzing this from a cynical Giants fan who knows the downfall of the Dodgers will be wildly more entertaining than the “pit of misery” the Giants are going to be in for the next two years (unless something changes drastically this offseason). No, the real loser here is the Giants/Dodgers rivalry.
There hasn’t been a player in recent memory that just by purely existing and being himself, got under the skin of Giants fans and players alike, with ease. Nobody has come close to being the absolute bain of the Giants existence. The annual dust-ups with Madison Bumgarner exemplified that. Puig is the guy you love to hate.
He’s on your rival’s squad, he’s flashy, arrogant at times, and wildly entertaining. Oh, did I mention he was pretty good? Yes, only one all-star appearance in his career. But his last two years have easily been some of his best.
Losing that guy in the rivalry just worsens it. Look at the Warriors and Clippers rivalry. The moment that Chris Paul left, it transferred to the Rockets. Why? Because Chris Paul was the reason for the hatred between the Clippers and Warriors.
You can even harken back to the Sacramento Kings and the Lakers in the early 2000s. After the Kings got rid of all of their talent, the rivalry fizzled, and really hasn’t returned, with the Warriors/Clippers matchup being the “Nor-Cal/So-Cal” rivalry for basketball.
Without Yasiel Puig, the next guy up on the list of hated Dodger players is who? Kike Hernandez? Meh. Joc Pederson? Meh. It certainly won’t be Seager or Kershaw. Do we not like them? Duh. But there is also a respect factor for how good they are, and they aren’t the type of players to get under your skin. There really isn’t anyone else who could replace Puig in the Giants/Dodgers rivalry. So you can blame the Dodgers for weakening the rivalry at the moment.