On paper, the San Diego Padres got better at the trade deadline. In reality, they’ve gotten worse — and are very quickly becoming the laughingstock of the MLB.
For a third straight year, the Padres were buyers at the trade deadline. And for a third straight year, they’ve disappointed.
In 2020, they got Mike Clevinger, Austin Nola, and Mitch Moreland. They were swept by the Dodgers in the NLDS.
In 2021, they added Adam Frazier, Daniel Hudson, and Jake Marisnick. They finished the season 18-36 and missed the playoffs.
And now in 2022, the Padres had what people called the greatest trade deadline ever. They got Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Brandon Drury, and Josh Hader, and were being crowned the favorite to win it all.
Since, the Padres have gone 6-10, saw their $340 million “superstar” Fernando Tatis Jr. get banned for the rest of the year for PEDs, and are now barely hanging on to that sixth and final wild-card spot.
And they aren’t even playing good teams.
Aside from the Dodgers, who took care of them easily in a three-game sweep, the Padres haven’t played a team over .500.
They’ve gone 1-1 against the (as of Saturday morning) 52-69 Rockies, 2-1 against the 59-60 Giants, and 1-2 against the 52-67 Marlins. Most embarrassingly, however, they’re a shocking 2-3 against the now 41-80 Washington Nationals, the team who gave the Padres their two best players and top contributors.
If the Brewers weren’t also disappointing — they got swept by the Pirates and lost two out of three to the Reds — the Padres wouldn’t be sitting in the playoffs right now.
They’re really hanging on for dear life.
And the guys they got during the “greatest deadline ever” — well let’s take a look at how they’ve fared.
Drury has maybe been the best of the bunch, although that’s not saying much. Drury has hit three home runs and driven in 14 runs in the 16 games he’s played. Yet, he’s hitting just .207 since his move to San Diego and has struck out 15 times.
Bell is another guy who hasn’t found his swing. In his 16 games in brown and gold, Bell is hitting (and I use that word lightly) .121/.250/.155 with no home runs and just two RBI. He has double the number of strikeouts (14) as he has hits (seven). And for reference, he was slashing .301/.384/.493 in his 103 games in Washington.
Then there’s Soto, who the Padres unloaded the farm for. Soto is hitting the best and continues to get on base — he has a line of .286/.444/.429. But he’s not doing very much damage. In his 16 games, he’s hit one home run and driven in just three runs.
And then there’s the closer. Hader was the first move the Padres made. Hader has been arguably the biggest disappointment — or at least the most costly one.
In his five appearances, Hader has gone just 3.2 innings. In his last two, he entered a tied game in the 9th against the lowly Nationals. He left both games with the Nationals up, not even recording an out in his second appearance. His ERA as a member of the Padres is 16.20.
The Padres are yet again collapsing in the second half. They’re 18 games back of the Dodgers in the NL West, and just one game up on the Brewers in the wild card.
They’ve been booed by their home fans in their last two games, and are desperately searching for anything to get them back on track.
They also still play the Dodgers nine more times this season.
If the Padres miss the playoffs, it would be one of the biggest disappointments in MLB history. But at the same time, it would be about as fitting an end as you can write.
The Padres have been the laughingstock of the MLB for the majority of their 54-year existence. They’ve tried to buy their way out of that title. But unfortunately for them, it just fits too well. If only there was a reinforcement on the way...