With the San Diego Padres mercifully nearing the tip of their season, it has formally change into time to unpack what went improper for considered one of baseball’s most-hyped groups.
Merely put, the Padres shouldn’t be 74-78. They went 89-73 final 12 months and reached the NLCS, beating two 100-win groups, together with their Los Angeles Dodgers archnemesis, alongside the way in which. They misplaced mainly zero gamers of actual significance whereas including All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts in free company and getting Fernando Tatis Jr. again from suspension. They’re a star-heavy workforce on which the celebs, for probably the most half, have carried out like stars.
So why did the Padres lose a lot, significantly in one-run video games (an MLB-worst 6-22) and extra-inning video games (an MLB-worst 0-11)? Why are they nearer within the standings to the last-place Colorado Rockies than to the Dodgers?
Some have tried to search for causes past the simple solutions of weak depth and lack of clutch performers.
The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee took first crack final week, taking an in depth take a look at the Padres’ clubhouse tradition and the management of their longest-tenured participant, Manny Machado. He did not discover many individuals blaming Machado for a less-than-engaged clubhouse, however he did discover some disconnects in what some anticipate from the $350 million man and what he expects from himself.
The extra regarding story arrived Tuesday, by way of The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Dennis Lin. Machado’s management is briefly touched upon, however the larger challenge offered is the method of common supervisor A.J. Preller, significantly on the subject of his relationship with Bob Melvin.
The Athletic reviews that there’s a rift between the 2 leaders, and it is “the worst-kept secret in baseball.”
A participant made an fascinating comparability for the dynamic, per The Athletic:
A number of Padres folks interviewed for this story described circumstances through which Preller advised gamers one factor and Melvin advised them one other. One participant, whereas cautious to not absolve himself and his teammates of blame, likened the scenario to a poisonous relationship between mother and father through which the children endure.
“If no person’s on the identical web page and also you’re getting two tales from two totally different folks, there may be not belief there,” the participant mentioned. “The gamers are going to really feel like, nicely, who can I speak in confidence to? Who can I speak to?”
The Padres employed Melvin within the 2021-22 offseason and loved success in his first 12 months, the workforce’s first marketing campaign above .500 in a full season beneath Preller. This 12 months has clearly modified the tone fairly a bit.
An enormous level of competition is outwardly the controversy over how a lot pregame work the Padres ought to be doing. Preller is reportedly of the thoughts that gamers ought to be emphasizing pregame work on the sphere and in batting cages, whereas the teaching workers thinks such an method tires gamers out over a 162-game season. Melvin is outwardly not the primary supervisor to tackle Preller about this.
From The Athletic:
“Generally guys run out of gasoline,” one Padres participant mentioned. “I see it. And typically the unhappy half is that they (membership officers) see it, too. Why don’t you make changes?”
Not counting interims, Melvin is Preller’s fourth supervisor since he joined San Diego in 2014.
A number of extra points are offered within the article, principally involving Preller. Possibly the oddest one is a fellow named Don Tricker, who was employed in 2017 because the Padres’ director of participant well being and efficiency. His earlier employer: the New Zealand “All-Blacks” rugby workforce, with whom he was a “excessive efficiency supervisor.”
Tricker, beforehand a softball participant and coach in New Zealand, was reportedly speculated to oversee San Diego’s medical workers, coaching workers and analytics division, however some folks imagine his position ended up being a spy for the entrance workplace in clubhouse conferences, per The Athletic:
“I don’t know what Don does, truthfully,” one former entrance workplace staffer mentioned.
“All he was doing was judging,” the ex-coach mentioned. “He by no means supplied any suggestions to any coach or participant.”
These are awkward tales for Preller, however the way more awkward drawback is the fundamental info. The Padres entered this season with the third-highest 40-man payroll in baseball, forward of even the Dodgers. They’ve embraced a win-now mentality for years, with only one NLCS look to indicate for it. They’ve All-Stars Blake Snell and Josh Hader hitting free company this offseason, with Juan Soto’s personal dip into the free market a 12 months after.
The Padres’ spending as a small-market workforce is mainly unprecedented, however up to now, all that has made them is a cautionary story. And that is sufficient to make Preller’s seat appear mighty sizzling ought to they not flip issues round quickly.