Thus far, the 2023 season has been catastrophic for the San Diego Padres.
Finally crowned a team of relevance after decades of failure, the Padres were supposed to be one of the best teams in the league.
After being swept by the Pirates on Wednesday, the Padres sit seven games under .500, and playoffs seem an unattainable goal. Playing deep into the season seems inconceivable at this point as the team continues to find new ways to lose ballgames. The team is showing little heart, and unlike teams of the past, they simply cannot come back from a deficit.
It is a sad time for the fanbase, as there were high hopes for the Padres in 2023.
Though they are not technically eliminated, the Padres need a small miracle to get back into the race. If the trend continues and the team fails to make the playoffs this season- who is to blame? Where will the fault lie for the San Diego Padres’ incompetence?
Let’s take a look at the three most common “reasons” why the Padres are losing.
The manager of the squad is naturally who most pundits and fans blame right away if a talented team is failing. Bob Melvin came to the Padres with a long history of success. He is widely regarded as one of the best managers in all of major league baseball. The veteran skipper has a reputation for getting the best out of an inexpensive roster. In San Diego, Melvin has not had to suffer through that, as the Padres’ $232 million roster is the third-highest in the league.
Is he not getting respect from this star-studded locker room? Has he lost the respect of the team? These notions seem really far-fetched. In close losses, a manager’s decisions are magnified tenfold. Melvin has been questioned this year for his lineup construction and bullpen usage, but nothing is glaring. Bob Melvin could be removed and used as a scapegoat for the problems of the Padres, but you get a sense he is not the issue with this franchise. It goes beyond way him.
When it comes down to it, A.J. Preller will go down as one of the most popular general managers in the history of the franchise. When he came into town in late 2014, the organization was a complete mess. He immediately made huge changes and did an excellent job of rejuvenating a dead fanbase. The trades did not work for the 2015 season, but the Padres were suddenly relevant, and major league baseball was talking about them. Just in time for the 2016 season and the all-star game at Petco Park.
Preller has changed gears several times in his tenure. He went from developing a competitive major league team to building one of the best farm systems in all of baseball. That fruitful farm system helped facilitate major trades when the time was right for the Padres. Though his trades did not work out well in some cases, the team was able to upgrade multiple times as they attempted to compete in the last few seasons. All this is great, but the team is failing now. Preller hand-picked the additions to the roster, and for whatever reason, they are not working. He is surely responsible to some degree. This is his team.
The game is played by the men on the field. You can put them in a position to win, but it comes down to their performance. The Padres have several men on the roster who are considered some of the best players in the world. As a group, they are all underachieving. Individually, only Fernando Tatis Jr. is having a good (not great) season, and he missed the first few weeks of the season, serving his PED suspension from last year. Juan Soto started the year ice cold and has only recently begun to show his value. But his numbers are still below what he produced in Washington.
Manny Machado has not played well in 2023, and Xander Bogaerts seems to be battling a wrist injury. The team is not getting much from their big four, who were supposed to wreak havoc on the National League. Then there are players like Jake Cronenworth, Austin Nola, Matt Carpenter, and Trent Grisham, who are all battling to put up any offensive numbers of relevance. Injuries have not been a major factor, though losing Robert Suarez was a huge loss for this team. Watching this team continue to fail is heartbreaking and head-scratching at the same time. Changes must be made to the roster. This group simply cannot win together.
Ultimately, the game of baseball comes down to execution. The little things do matter in the game, whether it be taking an extra base when appropriate or going out of your way to make your teammates comfortable around you. Chemistry is very much a factor in the game of baseball and especially at the major league level, which represents the best players in the whole world. The Padres simply do not have that right now. Losing gives you the opinion that this group is dysfunctional. Only the players can change this.
A.J. Preller will be blamed for this roster construction. For whatever reason- It simply is not working. He built this team, and though it was supposed to be a powerhouse, they look weak and beatable of late. The Padres continue to lose close games and are doing so in several different manners. They are not consistent and fail to play the game with much passion. It is certainly time to think about blowing this season up. What will they do? Will Preller be allowed to construct another team in 2024? Only time will tell.
James was born and raised in America’s Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of EastVillageTimes.com. Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that’s our motto. Enjoy.