The San Diego Padres aren't technically eliminated from playoff contention yet, but as they sit five games back for the final National League Wild Card spot, their playoff hopes are all but gone. Many fans are disappointed with the team for putting together an awful season in 2023, but Fernando Tatis Jr. doesn't believe that all the blame should be directed at Manny Machado, and he stepped in to defend his fellow superstar teammate.

“This isn't his fault that we've lost and had a bad year. I think people expect the leader to be able to pull the team out of whatever hole they're in. But there's so much stuff going on this year that it's difficult to have one person come in and do something or say something and change the entire outlook on the entire team. Everyone's got their way of doing things.” – Fernando Tatis Jr., ESPN

There have been folks quick to point fingers at Machado for playing a big role in the Padres' woes this season, but Tatis doesn't believe that's the case. While he may come off as a bit cold in the media, Tatis says that Machado has done a great job of leading San Diego behind the scenes, and their general manager A.J. Preller agreed that Machado should not be shouldering the blame for this season all on his own.

“Manny's going to be part of the solution here for a long time. To put everything on one player, Manny, no, that's not the design. We don't have one leader. That's not how we designed that club.” – A.J. Preller, ESPN

It's been a disappointing season all around for the Padres, and reports of internal tension have been floating around for quite some time now. And while that may be true, Fernando Tatis Jr. and A.J. Preller don't want Manny Machado to be the guy taking all the heat for those reports. There's no doubt the Padres need to change some things this offseason, but it's also not all Machado's fault as Tatis and Preller point out here.