2. This season has sucked, but you have to admire the San Diego Padres for going for it
This will anger some Giants fans, but you have admire how the San Diego Padres have conducted themselves over the last few seasons. Despite playing in a very competitive media market and typically not being a team that rakes in the revenue, the Padres have been among the most aggressive teams in all of baseball with the moves they have made to try and bring a World Series title to San Diego.
Sure, this season has not gone well, but a chunk of that has been some horrific luck. The Padres sport a +49 run differential in 2023 which means their expected record is 73-62 which would have put them firmly as the second wild card team in 2023. Unfortunately, they have underperformed that by a full 11 games this season and it is hard to point to a specific cause for their misfortune.
Not all of the Padres moves have worked out, but signing Manny Machado gave the Padres a perennial MVP candidate. Trading for Blake Snell looks like the rare occasion where another team got the better end of a deal with the Rays as Snell could win the Cy Young this year. Even for a guy as aggressive as Preller, the trade San Diego pulled off for Juan Soto sent shock waves across baseball.
Other than not actually winning a World Series yet, one quibble that one can have with the Padres' front office in recent years is that they have all but abandoned developing talent from within. Ethan Salas looks like he could end up as a generational talent at catcher, but San Diego has dealt from their minor league ranks very aggressively and it is pretty easy to see that when one looks at their minor league ranks. That makes making roster improvements more expensive via free agency or trades as there are few prospect options that are expected to help the big league club in the near-term.