Why it's time for the San Diego Padres to cut ties with A.J. Preller

The Friar Faithful should be furious with the mess that is the 2023 season for the San Diego Padres. This season's downfall should be the last straw for general manager A.J. Preller.

Colorado Rockies  v San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies v San Diego Padres / Denis Poroy/GettyImages

It is hard to make sense of why the 2023 season for the San Diego Padres has not matched expectations. A promising offseason devolved into an utter mess of inconsistency. The Padres have stumbled through the regular season as they have done nothing but play catch-up since Opening Day.

If we speculate on what needs to happen next, team owner Peter Seidler should look very hard at the future of A.J. Preller with the franchise.

A.J. Preller failed to construct a contending roster for San Diego Padres

Let's be clear, Preller does a terrific job of recognizing talent, but he cannot construct a roster that contends for a postseason berth. Often, Preller overpays in free agency or gives up too much talent in trades. He has been given a little over eight seasons to build a contending team and failed miserably. The Padres under Preller have a 620-714 record, and that includes four consecutive 90-loss seasons between 2016-19.

His plan for this season failed far worse than anyone could have imagined. Preller elected to remain patient before scrambling to make roster changes at the trade deadline. His acquisitions did not shake the team out of their futile play.

San Diego Padres: A.J. Preller's free agents mistakes

Preller’s biggest mistake was overpaying Xander Bogaerts. He has been a disappointment as the Friars did not need another shortstop. Instead, the money could have better serve in upgrading the center field, first base and catcher positions.

Everyone predicted the signing of Matt Carpenter and Nelson Cruz would ignite the lower-third of the Padres batting order. However, neither player has produced out of the DH position. Preller thought Carpenter and Cruz were worth the risk as their proven track record would help the Friars earn a postseason berth. The offensive inconsistency remained as both players were shells of themselves.

San Diego's offensive struggles have more to do with the hitters inability to take advantage when they're ahead in the count. Too often, they fail to square up on a pitch in the strike zone. This notion holds when batters continually fail to make productive outs that move baserunners into scoring position.

The roster has too many good players to be losing games regularly. The lineup is not executing at the plate, and when the Padres score runs, the pitching explicitly disappears. The team’s record in August was the final nail in a forgettable season. The Friars went 10-15 in a stretch of games against teams above them in the NL Wild Card standings.

Starting rotation injuries derailed postseason hopes for San Diego Padres

The Friars have not preserved well through the amount of injuries sustained by the starting rotation this season. The loss of Yu Darvish (elbow inflammation), Joe Musgrove (fractured big toe and shoulder inflammation), Michael Wacha (shoulder discomfort) and Seth Lugo (calf) have all been contributing factors to the Padres' lack of success. The lone bright spot has been Blake Snell, who is making a case for the NL Cy Young.

Their replacements (Ryan Weathers, Rich Hill and others) have been less than stellar on the mound. The plan was for them to pitch well enough to keep the Padres near the .500 mark. Instead, the inexperienced Weathers and the aging Hill were not competitive in their starts. The failure to find a spot starter is why the Friars have not kept pace in the National League Wild Card chase.

Forget the FanGraphs odds for the Padres making the postseason (0.5%). Ignore the talk of an oncoming run to claim the final Wild Card berth. The Padres need a miracle to save their season. Sadly, it is not going to happen.

The Friar Faithful should be furious with what has taken place this season. Seidler needs to chart a new course for the Padres in 2024. If not, you can expect the same mistakes to occur again. Thus, it seems Preller should be held accountable for this season's mess.

The time is now for a new voice to run the organization.