It isn't a secret that this offseason has been a rough one for the San Diego Padres and their fans. Having to experience the colossally disappointing 2023 campaign was bad enough, but then to have the team slash payroll, watch big names like Blake Snell and Josh Hader walk, and being "forced" to trade Juan Soto will not be looked back upon fondly.
It's fair to point out that the Padres' offseason has had some mitigating factors. They were already pretty over-extended from a payroll perspective and the drop in revenue after a crummy season (combined with the death of owner Peter Seidler) was always going to lead to some changes. To the front office's credit, they are still being active with moves, especially in the bullpen, and the lineup looks pretty good even without Soto in it.
Still, it's hard to ignore just how big a step back the Padres' offseason has been so far regardless of the reason. Fox Sports seems to agree with that assessment with their latest offseason rankings where the Padres ranked just 20th in all of baseball.
Padres, AJ Preller get low grade from their offseason, but there is still hope
Fox was clear to point out that the Padres' situation is a complex one and probably needed to happen if San Diego had any hope of being a sustainable franchise while also being able to field a big league pitching staff. General manager AJ Preller was given some props as well for the additions that he has been able to make.
However, there's no denying that the losses the Padres have suffered have been large. Fox especially took umbrage with moving Soto, arguably the best hitter in baseball, before his contract was up with no mention of the return they got for him. At the end of the day, the Padres just lost the reigning NL Cy Young winner, a perennial MVP candidate, and arguably the best relief pitcher in baseball ... PLUS some other key contributors like Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo. It is honestly generous to only give them a C+ grade.
The last note Fox had was a good one, however. While Preller deserves some criticism, the guy is a wheeler and dealer and he could easily surprise everyone yet again with an impact move or two before the 2024 season starts. He may have to, because this Padres team is still looking pretty incomplete at the moment.