A National League team with a star-studded roster and an enormous payroll fails to live up to expectations. The New York Mets made all the headlines as 2023's biggest disappointment. But the San Diego Padres were not far behind.

A stretch where the team has won nine of 10 games has raised questions of what could have been. Star third baseman Manny Machado, for one, was left to wonder what went wrong.

“We all knew all year what we’re capable of,” Machado said after Sunday's 12-2 rout of the St. Louis Cardinals, per the San Diego Union-Tribune's Kevin Acee. “Obviously the year didn’t go as planned. … Fortunately, we know how good we are and what we’re capable of. We’ve shown it over the last week or so. We’ve shown spurts of it throughout the year. We just couldn’t really put it together.”

Following a run to the NLCS in 2022, the Padres went all-in on improving upon that success. The team inked former Boston Red Sox star Xander Bogaerts in the offseason, boosting their World Series odds all the way to sixth-best in MLB. Bogaerts joined an already impressive core that included Machado, Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Yu Darvish.

But the Padres never got on track, and they haven't been a .500 team since early May. They currently sit in fourth in the NL West and will almost certainly miss the postseason entirely.

For Machado and the rest of the Friars players, there is no hiding the disappointment as their season comes to an end. “For sure, we definitely underperformed as a group. We didn’t play to our best capabilities, and as a group we’re better than that. We’re going to continue to grow as a team and continue to be better.”

On an individual level, Machado is in the midst of his worst season since 2019, his first as a Padre. 2023 will be the fifth-worst, by Baseball Reference's WAR, of Machado's 12-season career.