In an interview with Padres beat reporter Corey Brock, Padres General Manager A.J. Preller reflected on a 2015 season that did not go well. The Padres had their highest payroll of all time with $118M, re-made the entire outfield, added a frontline starting pitcher in James Shields, and still ended up winning fewer games than they did in 2014.
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What I have failed to hear this season and into the off-season is much admission of failure on the part of Preller. He said:
"“Going into the year, I think we had better than a 74-win team. I do feel like there was talent in the room. Overall, as a whole, it just didn’t work. We didn’t get guys to play as well as they did at other stops. We never got that group to play at the level we wanted them to all year.”"
So the players didn’t get it done, but no accountability for the man that put the team together?
"“I think that’s going to be the challenge for us this offseason…To find people and [a] person in that dugout [manager] so that we are not in this spot going forward next year.”"
Okay, so where is the accountability about his choice of Pat Murphy as the interim manager? Nowhere to be found. Surely though that next manager will do the trick. He talked about trying to make the right decisions this winter and I do hope that he doesn’t get gun-shy about making some bold choices that must be made to field a team that can climb above the Giants and Dodgers next season.
He is right in noting that many players who they acquired in trades had good seasons, just for whatever reason couldn’t make it all come together at the same time. Justin Upton had a season numbers-wise, but Padres fans know that it seemed like every home run he hit was late in a game that didn’t matter. Besides a glaring hole at shortstop, the Padres had hope even as the trade deadline passed in July that their current team could come together.
"“We felt like we wanted to take a shot with the team that we had and add to that group. Ultimately, it didn’t play out on the field in terms of resulting in a winning formula, and that’s what I’m in a charge of.”"
Okay, she he shows a hint of accountability. Mike Dee has shown that he has patience – but only to a point. Right now Preller’s shine has dimmed, but with another productive off-season and a better start to 2016 he could still regain top favor. If not, whether he faults himself or not, the 2015-16 off-season might be his last with the Padres.