5 questions facing the Padres as spring training approaches

St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres
St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages
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It has been a long, torturous offseason for the Friar Faithful. We have seen San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin move up north to lead the division-rival San Francisco Giants in 2024. Also, we bid farewell to superstar outfielder Juan Soto, who was dealt in a blockbuster trade to the Bronx this winter. Lastly, the franchise and town mourned the death of our leader, Peter Seidler.

But hope springs eternal, and the 2024 baseball season officially begins with pitchers and catchers reporting on February 11. The Padres have five questions that need to be answered before meaningful games are played.

Can Manny Machado stay healthy enough for Padres to play third base all season long?

Manny Machado’s surgically repaired right elbow will draw attention in Peoria this spring. He's recovering from surgery that repaired the extensor tendon, and the recovery time is usually 4-6 months. Machado went under the knife in early October, so he may have to be a DH at the start of the 2024 season.

We are not talkng about an inconsequential player, as the Friar Faithful would argue Machado is the face of the franchise. And his health status needs to be answered before the start of the regular season. If Machado is on the injured list, the media will speculate on the health of his elbow.

In professional sports, there's a chance an athlete will need more time than expected to come back from an offseason surgery. Luckily, the Friars have infield depth if Machado cannot play the field for an extended period. Ha-Seong Kim can move over from second base to fill the position. Unfortunately, we will not get answers until Machado arrives in Peoria for full-squad workouts, but the fate of the Padres likely hinges partially on Machado's ability to play both sides of the ball every day.