CBS SPORTS EXCLUSIVE.
By Mike Axisa, CBS Sports Writer-- In a season full of disappointing teams, the San Diego Padres stand out from the pack. They have spent lavishly -- both in terms of dollars and trade capital -- the last few years to build a core of prime-aged superstars, yet the result is a 73-78 record and a trip to the golf course in October.
It stands to reason GM A.J. Preller's seat is getting warm.
Yesterday, a popular sports media organ, The Athletic, detailed San Diego's disappointing season, and one unnamed Padres player went as far as to say the relationship between Preller and manager Bob Melvin is "unfixable."
For what it's worth, Preller acknowledged he and Melvin don't always see eye-to-eye, though he called it "healthy debate."
Here's more from The Athletic: Several Padres people interviewed for this story described circumstances in which Preller told players one thing and Melvin told them another. One player, while careful not to absolve himself and his teammates of blame, likened the situation to a toxic relationship between parents in which the kids suffer. "If nobody's on the same page and you're getting two stories from two different people, there is not trust there," the player said. "The players are going to feel like, well, who can I confide in? Who can I talk to?"
Melvin, a three-time Manager of the Year, joined the Padres last season and led San Diego to the NLCS. He is the team's seventh manager in Preller's nine full seasons as GM (including interims) and their third full-time manager in the last five years.
Melvin was expected to help solve to the team's underperformance issues from 2019-21 and provide stability in the dugout.
Instead, the Padres are again underperforming this year, though it should be noted some of their issues were known coming into the season. San Diego lacked depth, particularly beyond their top starters and core relievers, and that depth had held them back at times.
The roster is top heavy, and when the guys at the top don't perform as expected, it can make everyone look bad. "I think we just didn't want it," Manny Machado said recently. "... I will say that. I think that's everyone's fault. It's everybody's fault. We didn't want it as a team. It falls down to the team. That's not necessarily one player. It's not an individual sport. So I think ultimately, it comes down to all of us. We should have wanted it more."
To state the obvious, the GM and manager should be on the same page. You don't have to agree on everything, different opinions are a good thing, but you should be collaborative. It doesn't sound like that's the case with Preller and Melvin. The standings suggest the Padres will make changes after this season.
Will Preller really hire a fourth manager in six years?