Tell it like it is, Xander.
To say Xander Bogaerts, the San Diego Padres' big fish reeled in over the winter, is displeased with how he and his teammates have performed on the field would be understating matters. At least, if you read some of his latest comments, which can be found in a recent article by The Athletic's Dennis Lin (subscription required).
Xander Bogaerts not taking San Diego Padres' struggles lightly following a disappointing home series loss to the Washington Nationals
Bogaerts wasn't holding back in his criticisms of the Padres following their crippling home series loss to the lowly Washington Nationals at Petco Park in front of sell-out crowds.
"Lack of fight — I don’t even feel any of that. You know? But maybe trying to do too much might be one [reason we're struggling]."- Xander Bogaerts
Accusing teammates of not feeling a sense of urgency? That's bold.
It's one thing if a manager lights a fire under his players, but a fellow player doing so invites an opportunity for rifting within the clubhouse. This is particularly the case when said player is making a pretty penny like Bogaerts, but who only has a 106 wRC+ on the season himself. Not a great look for an All-Star talent whose career wRC+ sits at 117, over 10 points higher.
But the griping didn't stop there, as the 30-year-old shortstop went on to lament that his teammates couldn't do better against a moribund Washington Nationals squad.
"C’mon, man. We’re playing the Nationals. … I don’t think they have playoff aspirations. I mean, they obviously have a young team and they fight. They do fight. But I wouldn’t say anyone picked the Nationals to be in the playoffs. So you have to beat the teams that you have to beat."- Xander Bogaerts
Normally, players will make respectful public-facing comments about their opponents. Therefore, these remarks couldn't have sat well with the Nats, even if Bogaerts was mostly correct in his general assessment of that club. And not to mention, it's jarring to hear Bogaerts saying these things, especially after his team didn't "beat the team you have to beat."
So Xander, is there anything remotely positive you'd like to say about the 2023 San Diego Padres?
"The pitching has nothing to do with [our struggles]. They’ve been excellent."- Xander Bogaerts
At least there's the pitching staff, which by the way, has surrendered the second fewest runs in the majors in 2023. That's pretty impressive given the slate of injuries that has compromised them at times this season. But all it means is that the Padres lineup has to start living up to the hype it came into the season burnished with.
"The whole talk of the year pretty much has been (about) the offense. I mean, if we’re gonna be real about it, it’s been on us, man. "- Xander Bogaerts
No matter how harsh or insensitive these comments may seem, Xander Bogaerts is absolutely right: the San Diego Padres aren't where they should be, or want to be, at this point in 2023. And time is running out to change course for the better.