San Diego Padres: How A.J. Preller had a better 2023 than most realized

Last season was disappointing for the San Diego Padres, but a deep dive into the numbers show that perhaps the Friars weren't that far off from meeting expectations.

A.J. Preller of the San Diego Padres
A.J. Preller of the San Diego Padres / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

When the 2023 season ended and the San Diego Padres had officially fallen short of the postseason (despite a last-ditch gasp to get there), much of the finger pointing centered on the jobs done by A.J. Preller and Bob Melvin, two of the men near the very top of the Friars food chain.

With Melvin now likely heading to the San Francisco Giants to take over as the team's manager, Padres fans will look forward to a fresh face in the dugout in 2024. But what about Preller? He will be back, so does he deserve the blame for last season's shortcomings? According to some numbers, the answer is no.

A.J. Preller's numbers with San Diego Padres may be better than you think

In an article on our sister site, Call to the Pen, author Bill Felber calls the Padres "unlucky" and digs into numbers that show the Padres and Preller indeed made many right moves in the offseason, but couldn't get the pieces to gel in time.

Felber uses Wins Above Average as the way to dive into the team and the moves made by Preller to see if they worked or not. As he writes, "Despite his team's underwhelming 82-80 record, Padres GM A.J. Preller actually had a productive season. His team's problem seemed to be a remarkable run of ill fortune."

The author highlights the moves to sign Xander Bogaerts, Michael Wacha and Joe Musgrove and the positive WAA numbers each put up this season. He also highlights the long-term deals in place for the Padres, writing, "The thing is that Preller’s long-term impact turned out to be even more important than his short-term impact. In fact, at +16.9 games worth of WAA, it was best in the National League and trailed only the Texas Rangers in all of MLB."

Felber also dives into the three areas where he believes the Padres were unlucky, including one-run game results.

It's an interesting read and one that may change the way you look at some of the moves made before last season began.

Again, you can read the article and see what you think by clicking here.