The San Diego Padres are a popular punching bag these days. After being one of the more exciting teams on the field and in the marketplace the last few years, the Padres have been forced to cut costs and move on from very good players in the wake of their disastrous 2023 season. When any team loses the amount of talent the Padres have in a matter of months, it is easy to declare that team's fall from grace.
Case in point: Bleacher Report recently came out with some early predictions for the trade deadline this year. Some of them are pretty wild, but the one that stands out for Padres fans is that they are predicting that the Padres will fall flat in the first half and trade away Ha-Seong Kim at the deadline.
That prediction may age poorly.
Padres trade deadline prediction may be jumping the gun a bit
Predicting that the Padres could trade away Kim is far from a hot take. Kim is already a popular name on the trade rumor mill this offseason due to the fact that this is the last guaranteed year of his contract and the Padres are loaded with infielders at the moment. If a move does happen at the deadline or even before that, there is a logic to it, regardless of the team's record.
What is kind of remarkable is the widespread assumption that the Padres are going to be terrible in 2024. This team still has Kim, Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., Yu Darvish, and Joe Musgrove among others, and their bullpen might actually be deeper going into 2024 than it was last season, assuming their new signings pan out. Losing Juan Soto, Blake Snell, and Josh Hader is a blow to be sure, but this is still a talented roster.
Should the Padres be favored to win the NL West this coming season? Absolutely not. The Dodgers have gone wild this offseason and the Diamondbacks proved they weren't a fluke with their run to the World Series in 2023. However, announcing the total demise of the Padres after an unlucky 2023 season and one unfortunate offseason seems awfully premature.
It is predictions like these that the 2024 Padres need to use as motivation. Everyone is counting them out despite their star power on both sides of the ball. It isn't going to be easy and there are better teams out there on paper. However, those thinking that the Padres won't be at least in the running for a wild card spot at the trade deadline may be in for a big surprise.