The San Diego Padres underperformed during the first half of the 2023 season. Despite a lucrative offseason, the Padres entered the MLB All-Star break sitting in fourth place in the National League West with a record of under .500. As a result, some people around the MLB world are wondering whether or not the Padres will buy or sell ahead of the trade deadline. Star third baseman Manny Machado, who endured his own share of struggles during the season's first half, isn't giving up hope though. He's prepared to lead the Padres' roster in the second half of the '23 campaign.

“Got some sun and reset the mind and regrouped,” Machado said, via Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune. “Got the mind right for the second half and (got) ready to come back mentally strong to accomplish a lot of beautiful things.”

Manny Machado is the key to a Padres' playoff run

Manny Machado, Padres

In what might be a controversial statement, Manny Machado is the Padres' best player. Yes, they feature other stars like Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr, Xander Bogaerts, and more. Machado, though, features a superb track record and has been consistent for the most part. If he's able to perform up to his usual MVP-caliber standards then the Padres will find themselves in a position to make a playoff run.

As of this story's publication, Machado is slashing .261/.309/.465 with a .774 OPS and 16 home runs. Those numbers would be respectable for some players, but not for Machado. The 31-year old is expecting a turnaround for himself and the team in the second half of the season.

Catching the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks atop the NL West will prove to be quite the challenge. It isn't impossible, but the Padres will aim to at least clinch an NL Wild Card Spot.

San Diego will try to continue their bounce back on Saturday versus the Philadelphia Phillies.