The 2023 MLB season has been an interesting one. There have been some pleasant surprises with the likes of the Baltimore Orioles, but there have been just as many – if not more – disappointments with the San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, and New York Mets all falling flat.
MLB Insider Bob Nightengale—during his appearance on the Audacy original “The Bret Boone Podcast” this week—talked about the Padres’ struggles and compared them to the Philadelphia Phillies, who clinched their second straight postseason berth on Tuesday night.
“It seemed like everybody was doing their own program, which was sad,” he said. “If those guys had the same heart, desire, and tenacity as the Philadelphia Phillies they would’ve won 110 games this year.”
The Padres fell to the Phillies in five games in last year’s NLCS. While the Phillies clinched a playoff berth on Tuesday night, San Diego will be watching from the sidelines.
Nightengale called San Diego the "most underachieving team in baseball history."
“The teams that didn’t make the playoffs. The Yankees, the Mets, the Padres. Stunning that all three are sitting home,” Nightengale said (1:40 in player above). “I think the Padres are the most underachieving team in baseball history, not just this season, but by anybody.”
The Padres signed shortstop Xander Bogaerts last offseason to add to their already star-studded roster. With Bogaerts joining Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, and Manny Machado, the hype around the Padres was real.
“In spring training that place was full of rockstars. That clubhouse was packed every day with media, TV cameras, and everything else wanting to just get a piece of their time,” Nightengale continued. “It was bigger than the Yankees and Red Sox. It was just a question of ‘Are they going to win the World Series? Is this the year?’
“And then the season started and all of a sudden it’s like when are these guys going to turn on? You go in the clubhouse and stuff, something’s not right here. As the season progressed, way too many guys, too many whispers saying it’s not good in here. Too many selfish things going on. Obviously, they had bad chemistry between Bob Melvin and the GM AJ Preller. You can’t keep losing. It’s not a matter of luck losing those one-run games. It’s a matter of heart and pride and being tough.”
San Diego’s downfall is particularly surprising given the fact that it has NL Cy Young candidate Blake Snell leading one of the league’s best pitching staffs.
The Padres are going to need to do something to change things up this offseason. Nightengale opines that they should move one of their big pieces.
“I think they should trade Soto,” he said. “I think you got to break that thing up and get something back in return instead of wasting all that money and talent they gave away to get him in the first place.”
There would undoubtedly be plenty of suitors if the Padres put Soto on the trade market. Both New York teams are looking to reload and he has history with some of the stars in Philadelphia.