The great disappointment that was the 2021 season will result in significant changes for the San Diego Padres.
What happened to the San Diego Padres in 2021?
At one point during the season, the Padres looked like a team destined for greatness. Instead, they now resemble a mediocre ball club, not even close to being playoff-worthy. In virtually a matter of weeks, the team collapsed. It was an epic failure that will go down as one of the worst in all of baseball history.
There will be changes.
Peter Seidler and the ownership group he assembled want results. They demand them. Their intentions are clear with the financial investments the group made in Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr– a World Series trophy or bust. Nothing less is acceptable.
Keep an eye out for immediate changes to the roster, coaching staff, and internal departments of the San Diego Padres.
A.J. Preller will waste no time in fixing the issues of the 2021 season. So here are a few things to keep an eye out for this winter, which starts Monday.
Jon Heyman leaked that Jayce Tingler is likely going to be fired by the San Diego Padres. This seems inevitable as someone will need to take direct responsibility for the play of the major league club. A.J. Preller hand-picked Tingler, so he will be under tremendous pressure to find a successor. Peter Seidler and the ownership group are known to covet a reunion with Bruce Bochy, but that is an obstacle. Can Preller and Bochy work hand-in-hand despite different philosophical beliefs about the game of baseball?
Bochy may not be the answer, but the Padres will likely hire an experienced manager. A skipper who can get results from a roster that is essentially built to win now. There will be no excuses for the Padres in 2022. A new manager would need to come in right away and stabilize a locker room that has issues. However, doing so is a very tall order, but it needs to be done if the Padres want to go deep into the playoffs.
The Padres are maxed out on payroll. There is a need for some financial flexibility, and trading Eric Hosmer seems like a probable solution. Hosmer and the Padres’ relationship has soured over the last few years. The local media is starting to get on Hosmer, and the fans are not far behind. It may be time to move the slugger who is owed $60 million over the next four years. Hosmer is approaching his 10/5 rights as the 2022 season will be his fifth in San Diego (if it happens). With these rights, Hosmer will have full trade disclosure and may not be dealt without his permission.
In trading Hosmer and not needing to eat his contract, the Padres will need to package prospects or other players of value. It may be possible if the team can package Ha-Seong Kim or another young player without a starting position. The Padres’ farm system is not as deep as it was in recent years, but several young players could be of interest to other teams. Preller will need to get creative. Not out of the realm of possibility, as the GM is known for his out-of-the-box thinking.
Little less swag, more results
The game of baseball is best played on an even keel for 162 games. You cannot get too up and cannot get too down. The Padres played with intense emotions for the first four or five months of the season, and then they burned themselves out. The swag was gone from the team, and the play suffered on a nightly basis in these last six to eight weeks.
If the Padres can find a way to continue having fun on the field without getting too high about the game, they will be in a better place. Playing with this emotion is acceptable in a short playoff series, but the grind of a primary league season took a toll on the swaggy Padres. If a skipper can maintain more of a level-headed approach to the game night in and night out, then the sky could be the limit for the Padres team.