San Diego Padres: New article paints "toxic" environment that helped doom 2023 season

Following an article that pointed at leadership questions in the clubhouse, a new piece paints a horrid picture inside the San Diego Padres organization.

San Diego Padres right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr.
San Diego Padres right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. / Ray Acevedo-USA TODAY Sports

Coming on the heels of an article focused on Manny Machado and leadership and chemistry questions inside the San Diego Padres clubhouse, a new article from The Athletic is now pointing a finger at the overall environment inside the club's hierarchy.

San Diego Padres, A.J. Preller and a "toxic" environment

Published just hours after the Padres had won their fifth consecutive game, continuing a season-high winning streak, Ken Rosenthal and Dennis Lin wrote an article for The Athletic (subscription required) that uses words such as "toxic" and "institutional failure" when it comes to not only the 2023 Padres, but some of the hiring choices that led up to this season.

The article paints Preller as "a gifted evaluator and collector of high-end talent." However, it goes on to say, "His default setting of simply trying to outwork the competition, however, has not always sat well with managers, players, coaches and other team officials." Included in that comment can be Preller's relationship with current manager Bob Melvin, a relationship that one current player (speaking on the condition of anonymity) said was “unfixable.”

Damning at times, the article certainly raises eyebrows about just how and if the Padres can be fixed in 2024 or beyond without major changes. It also alludes to the fact that Preller has made several hires that have not sit well inside the clubhouse, leading to a culture that lacks trust.

“Every day, it’s something,” one former Padres player said in the final paragraph of the article. “There is an aura of looking over your shoulder there.”

This article, followed by the one written by Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune that focused on culture, cohesion and chemistry inside the San Diego clubhouse (with a focus on Machado), is certain to continue to draw attention from the Padres fan base (as well they should). The two articles also seem to work together, pointing out problems on not only the current roster, but also several levels above it as well.

The pair of articles are well worth your read if you haven't already done so, but The Athletic piece is perhaps the most concerning of all for Padres fans. From payroll issues moving forward to questions about the futures of Preller and Melvin, it's clear that there are going to be a lot of things that need to be addressed before the Padres can once again experience the euphoria that grabbed the team last season during its postseason run.