SAN DIEGO -- Their offseason underway, the Padres will begin a "thorough assessment" of the organization after falling short of their lofty goals in 2023.
A day after San Diego wrapped up its 82-80 season, chairman Peter Seidler expressed full support for his leadership team while also vowing to make changes entering the '24 season. Seidler, who recently underwent an undisclosed medical procedure and has been away from the club, released the following statement:
"We entered 2023 with expectations that we would build on last year's NLCS appearance and contend for a World Series championship. We fell short of that goal. The Padres organization will learn from this season and emerge in 2024 with the pieces in place to compete for San Diego's first World Series title. Our current leadership team continues to have my full support, and I have asked them to perform a thorough assessment of our organization, beginning today. We will make the changes necessary to play championship-caliber baseball for our extraordinary fans in 2024."
The extent of those changes remains to be seen. For five months this season, the Padres wildly underperformed before their 20-7 finish brought them back to the fringes of the playoff race. Ultimately, they missed out by two games. They began the year dreaming of a deep run into October. Instead, they’ll spend the month evaluating the structure of the organization.
The status of manager Bob Melvin and general manager A.J. Preller remains the first order of business. Team brass was set to meet at Petco Park beginning Monday, with both Melvin and Preller on hand. No decisions have yet been made on their statuses moving forward, according to a source.
Melvin's first season with the Padres was an unquestioned success, as he led the team to postseason upsets of the Mets and Dodgers and the third trip to the National League Championship Series in franchise history.
But after a busy offseason, expectations were raised a notch in 2023, and the Padres did not meet them while questions about clubhouse chemistry arose. Melvin has shouldered his share of the blame for that, and although his players have repeatedly expressed their support for him, it remains unclear whether Melvin will remain in charge.
"I'm under contract here next year, and that's the only thing I'm thinking about right now," Melvin said on Sunday.
Indeed, Melvin's contract with the Padres runs through the 2024 season. Preller's, meanwhile, runs through 2026. And some of the same truths apply.
Preller, who just completed his ninth full season in charge of the Padres' front office, constructed the roster that took the Padres to the postseason in 2020 and ‘22. He also presided over hugely disappointing seasons in '21 and '23.
This year, a roster loaded with superstars was let down by its lack of big league-caliber depth. In large part, that was a direct result of a number of blockbuster trades that drained the upper levels of the team's farm system.
But Preller has also presided over the rejuvenation of that farm on multiple occasions, and in MLB Pipeline's recent ranking, the Padres checked in at No. 9 overall -- despite all the pieces they've traded away in the past couple years. The Padres are more optimistic about being able to fill some of those depth roles internally in '24.