The San Diego Padres look nothing like he perennially 73-89 team that occupied the basement of the NL West for the majority of the prior decade. AJ Preller has changed the culture and the roster in significant fashion over the last few years, adding huge names like Juan Soto and Xander Bogaerts to the mix.
This is a sharp change from how the team used to operate, when big names like Adrian Gonzalez were often traded away rather than kept for the long haul and free agents mostly consisted of young players needing a second chance or veterans taking whatever job they can get.
The winds of change were even strong enough to blow Wil Myers out of the picture. A good soldier who spent the bulk of his career trying to push the Padres to postseason glory before eventually doing so in a reduced role, Myers left the franchise to sign a contract with the Cincinnati Reds.
With Myers moving on, the only current Padres that were on the Opening Day roster from 2019 (the last year when they wore the blue and white uniforms) are Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr, and Jose Castillo. Only Machado and Tatis are needle movers, as Castillo has pitched two games since 2019.
The San Diego Padres have remade the roster.
The Padres had operated as a small market team for most of their existence, but ownership has recently decided that even teams that lie outside of the biggest cities in the league have the funds needed to build a quality product who can win a championship.
The Padres of old were often offensively deficient teams who wasted the career of promising pitchers before selling them a season too late for pennies on the dollar. Now, they were in the Aaron Judge and Trea Turner hunts until the final stages.
Even with all of the big names coming into town, there was still a spot open as a bench player that Myers may have filled. Rather than hold on to that one fixture from yesteryear, the Padres decided to continue wiping the slate clean, getting a left-hander in Matt Carpenter to be the impact bench bat.
While losing names like Myers might make some fans a bit nostalgic for the old days, the Padres are in an infinitely better spot than they were in the last decade. Sometimes, a facelift is needed. The Padres' nipping and tucking has them positioned to contend with the big boys yet again.