After signing Xander Bogaerts in the offseason, the sky truly felt like it was the limit for the San Diego Padres. They were coming off a season in which they were three wins away from a World Series berth and had, at least on paper, the best roster in the NL West. The season ended with no playoffs and a whole bunch of questions about the future.
While A.J. Preller and Co. have done mostly good things for the Padres, it's abundantly clear that this roster simply wasn't good enough. They had the starpower, but the surrounding pieces lacked for much of the season.
Here are four moves that hurt the Padres chances to make it back to the postseason in 2023.
1) The Matt Carpenter/Nelson Cruz DH platoon failed miserably
It's hard to envision a worse outcome than what San Diego got out of their veteran DH platoon that had Matt Carpenter and Nelson Cruz in it. Both came in as established veterans who were looking to play big roles on championship teams, but neither came close to fitting what the Padres actually needed.
Cruz began the year as the team's DH against left-handed pitching but was so unproductive, to the point where the team cut bait with him in July. He had just a .682 OPS in 143 at-bats. Cruz struggling in his age-43 season wasn't a huge shocker as he had a down year the season prior in Washington and only signed a deal worth $1 million. If the Padres or other teams around the league thought he still had something left, he would've signed on for more.
On the flip side, Matt Carpenter was expected to be a real force for San Diego. He was coming off a season that revived his career in 2022 with the Yankees and inked a two-year deal to come to Southern California. Carpenter was one of a few Padres that actually hit in April, but he had a .539 OPS from May 1 until the end of the season, and only had 46 plate appearances in the second half despite being healthy most of the time.
Padres designated hitters had a 92 WRC+ this season, which was in the bottom 10 of the majors. Carpenter and Cruz's ineptitude offensively was a huge reason why this team struggled to score runs early this season.