Ego and pride have no proper place in a front office. An executive has to be able to admit their mistakes instead of doubling down on a sizable investment. A refusal to do so can cannibalize a sports organization. The San Diego Padres are nearing the point where tough and humiliating decisions might need to be made.
The 43-47 Padres have been an abject failure in 2023. They are not the only one, but last year's postseason triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers was supposed to be a huge turning point for the franchise. Adding shortstop Xander Bogaerts to a loaded lineup made anything less than a National league pennant unacceptable. And now here we are.
Longtime general manager A. J. Preller is in danger of being a part of two woefully disappointing campaigns during his tenure in San Diego (finished 79-83 in 2021 with big expectations). He and the team might be forced to cut their losses ahead of the Aug. 1 MLB trade deadline. Tearing up the core makes no sense but parting with two expiring and coveted contracts might just be too practical for a sub-.500 club to pass up.
It is not so easy, though. One of baseball's most trusted insiders perfectly explained the team's troubling dilemma.
“If the Padres do not ignite quickly, the prudent course might be to trade All-Star closer Josh Hader, should-have-been All-Star Blake Snell and others,” Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic wrote. “But as The Athletic’s Jim Bowden points out, with left fielder Juan Soto only under club control through 2024, the team’s best window to win is this season and next. And with an average home attendance of more than 41,000, any step back would be difficult to justify.”
Preller is headed for a miserable next couple of weeks, unless of course, this group can finally put it all together. A +39 run differential, streaking Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr., savvy manager in Bob Melvin and revitalized Snell are enough to make that notion more than just a fantasy.
But the Padres will have to be realistic. Losing Snell and Hader for nothing would just be pouring salt into their wounds. The question, though, is how gaping will those wounds be by the trade deadline. And if they are fatal, will management be able to admit it?