At 44-50, the San Diego Padres are heading nowhere fast. They're 10.5 games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West and eight back of the Miami Marlins for the final NL wild card spot. Not where you want to be with two weeks until the trade deadline.
Now we're wondering ... did Padres general manager AJ Preller give us a preview of what might happen leading up to Aug. 1 on Tuesday with his latest decisions? After losing three of four to the Phillies following a 6-2 stretch, the Pads negated their progress and they continue to run out of time.
Hours before their series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego designated second baseman Rougned Odor for assignment and optioned catcher Austin Nola to Triple-A. Don't forget, Nelson Cruz got the axe right before the All-Star break.
Preller's seemingly sending a message after three and a half months of lackluster play. Those who are not performing will be shown the door. Odor was sporting a .675 OPS in 59 games while Nola was one of the worst offensive performers in the sport over 52 games (.146/.260/.192 and 31 OPS+).
Could this be signaling a potential sale at the trade deadline? Are these the moves potentially foreshadowing some sort of roster re-tool to either capitalize on assets they're planning to lose, or better prepare for 2024?
Dodgers Rumors: Are Padres getting closer to selling at the trade deadline?
Remember the previous report about the Pads facing financial difficulties as a result of the money they committed to a number of large contracts that happened to coincide with their poor start to 2023?
If that's truly the case, then why wouldn't they look to part with assets like Juan Soto, Josh Hader and Blake Snell? Not only would those deals free up significant cash -- Soto is making $23 million with one year of arbitration left, Hader is making $14.1 million before FA and Snell is making $16.1 million before FA -- but San Diego could stand to get pretty formidable returns via trade and restock their farm system/improve the margins of their MLB roster after the Soto deal depleted them of assets.
That latter part the only potential positive here. Otherwise, the Padres are essentially back at square one with a ridiculous-looking 11-year Xander Bogaerts contract and another playoff-less season (that was hyped to be a World Series year). The Dodgers, who downgraded in the offseason and have a struggling pitching staff, are still viewed as a top contender. Who would've thought? Hang that NLDS banner, though!
Also, not to mention, but doesn't parting with guys like Odor, Cruz and Nola have some sort of lasting effect on the locker room? Cruz and Odor are established, well-known MLB veterans with a track record of fortifying team chemistry, while Nola's spent parts of the last four seasons with the team and played a huge role in last year's postseason run.
If that's the start of the teardown, don't be surprised if other earth-shattering moves are to follow because Preller's already seemingly ripped out a portion of the rug beneath the clubhouse.