On June 17, the San Diego Padres led the National League West with a record of 41-24.
Since then, the team has lost 18 of the last 29 games and two home series in a row. Thanks to a hot start, the Padres cling to a 52-42 record and remain in the hunt for one of three Wild Card berths.
The month of July has not been kind to the Padres as they lost two of three to Dodgers, two to the Seattle Mariners, split a series with the San Francisco Giants 2-2, lost three of four in Colorado against the Rockies, won first two at home to Arizona Diamondbacks but sputtered into the break after losing 3-1 to the NLW’s last-place team with 40-52 record.
The run differential especially spells trouble. The New York Yankees at +199.0 and Los Angeles Dodgers at +169.0 lead all of baseball, while the Padres rank 10th with a measly +39.0. Last year, the rival Dodgers blew the Padres away +278.0 to +21.0.
So far, the theme of the year has been a surprising lack of offense. The absence of Fernando Tatis Jr.’s bat and Manny Machado’s ankle injury have exacerbated the problem, as have the home/away splits. However, despite his injury, Machado leads the team in batting average at .303 and OPS at .890.
In Petco Park, the Padres have a batting average of .224, and in other parks .256. In away games, the Padres average more hits (109) and more home runs (10). At home, the Padres have a 46-25 record, away 48-27 despite playing before huge, enthusiastic crowds in Petco Park. So far this season, 17 games have been sold out, and the totals at the end of the season will likely break the record set in the first season of 2004. In its first rendition, Petco Park became known as a pitcher’s park. However, in 2012 the Padres moved right/center in 11 feet and lowered the wall, left center from 402 to 390. Today the venue is generally considered a fair park.
Manager Bo Melvin recently admitted, “It’s disappointing that we don’t play well in front of…a big crowd every night. You’d think that would be an advantage, and it has not been.”
Obviously, the Padres desperately need Fernando Tatis Jr.’s bat, but his rehab from a broken wrist continues. According to Preller’s latest update, he won’t be ready in the near future. The timeline has stretched from late June to early August or beyond.
No doubt, the stats tell the story of the team’s surprising weaknesses.
On base %
On base plus slugging %
Hits per game
Runs per game 0.291
Home runs per game
RBI per game
Strikeouts per game
Left on base per game
Runners left in scoring position
8th 9.1 %
Walks/Hits per inning
Pitching (top 50)
8th Joe Musgrove .2.42
32nd Yu Darvish 3.41
17th Joe Musgrove 8
17th Yu Darvish 8
18th Joe Musgrove 2.7
39th Yu Darvish 1.9
The Padres need to upgrade the offense, and A. J. Preller (team president and general manager) has undoubtedly been in touch with the Washington Nationals about 23-year-old Juan Soto. The outfielder recently turned down a 15-year $440 million offer from the Nationals. He’s an especially tempting target as he doesn’t become a free agent until after the 2024 season.
The offensively challenged Padres could certainly use a guy with a batting line of .293/.427/.541/.968, 160 OPS+, 118 home runs, and a career WAR of 21.0 in 555 games in Washington. Of course, the Nationals will ask for the sun and the moon in prospects, or young players like MacKenzie Gore and Preller will have to choose wisely.
The Padres need to bring their bats to the so-called second half of the season with or without Soto. However, the team has the misfortune of playing the Mets in New York. The first-place team in the National League East has a 58-35 record (4th in run differential at +83). Starting pitchers Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, owners of two Cy Young trophies each will likely face San Diego batters.
Thanks to the addition of a third Wild Card, the Padres have a bit more leeway this year than last when San Diego fell to third place in the division with a 79-83 record. But there has to be a sense of urgency,
The San Diego Padres had not had a winning season since 2010 when Adrian Gonzalez handled first base, Bud Black managed under Jed Hoyer, and the Padres won 90 games with a payroll of around $38 million (29th in MLB). The team hasn’t won the division since 2006, with general manager Kevin Towers and manager Bruce Bochy in charge and a payroll of $69 million, which ranked 17th.
At $203 million, this year’s team has a payroll that ranks fifth behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, New York Yankees, and Philadelphia Phillies. Manager Bob Melvin has the experience. The pitching staff has the arms. The front office has run out of excuses and must correct the glaring weaknesses of the 2022 San Diego Padres.