The San Diego Padres were supposed to be the class of the NL West.
Yes, the Dodgers were going to be a factor. However, while Los Angeles had not done much over the offseason, San Diego kept adding on. General manager A.J. Preller continued his quest to build an All Star roster and bring a championship to the Padres. He appeared to be successful, at least on paper.
San Diego Padres not living up to expectations
But there is a reason why the games are not played on paper. The Padres have struggled thus far in the early going, languishing around .500. Key pieces of the lineup, such as Manny Machado and Juan Soto, have been unable to get on track. Blake Snell has been a disaster. The bullpen needs work, catcher is a black hole, and the Padres still need help throughout the roster. Bob Melvin may be a great manager but he cannot fix this alone.
In the end, this goes back on the GM. Preller put together a team with a payroll of more than $245 million, the third highest in the majors. He has strip mined their farm system, making blockbuster trades to bring in talent. Ownership has gone along with the plan, opening the checkbook and signing these players to long term deals or expensive extensions. Flags do fly forever, after all.
But there has been a limited amount of postseason action in San Diego. The Padres have made the postseason just twice since Preller took over, with those being the only two winning seasons. There will come a point in time where being the champions of the offseason will no longer be enough. The only question is when that time will come. If the Padres continue to struggle deeper into the season, it will be time to turn up the heat on the Padres’ GM.
The San Diego Padres are off to a slow start in 2023. If that continues, it may be time to turn up the heat on A.J. Preller.