Utilizing similar organizational philosophies, the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers have emerged as two of the top teams in the National League. They met in the past two NL Championship Series, with the Cubs winning in 2016, and the Dodgers getting revenge last year.
While Chicago turned their NLCS victory into a World Series title, Los Angeles fell one win shy of ending what’s now going on a 30-year drought. The Dodgers head into this season projected to finish with the best record in the NL and tied with the Houston Astros for best overall, while the Cubs are pegged to go 92-70.
Both teams are heavy favorites to win their respective division and compete for an NL pennant and World Series title.
With core of a team that paced the Majors last season with a 104-58 record, Kenley Jansen said the Dodgers reside as the top team in the NL, per Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
Kenley Jansen: "We understand that in the National League, we’re going to be the team to beat."
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) February 14, 2018
Jansen’s proclamation comes despite the fact that the Cubs, not the Dodgers, are who enjoyed a splashy offseason. Chicago signed Brandon Morrow to a two-year deal, and this week finalized a six-year contract with Yu Darvish.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers acquired southpaw reliever Scott Alexander in a three-team trade with the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals, and reunited with Matt Kemp in a salary dump with the Atlanta Braves. One of the team’s focuses has been on remaining under the luxury tax threshold.
Although there may be some questions within the starting rotation and bullpen, Jansen should again provide stability for the Dodgers in closing games out. Jansen was ranked the top relief pitcher in all of baseball by MLB Network’s ‘The Shredder.’
Beyond the player movement and transactions, Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts said he considers the Dodgers his organization’s ‘biggest nemesis.’