The Padres Clubhouse Culture Sounds Like An Absolute Disaster

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The San Diego Padres are a few days away from the official end of their season. But their 2023’s been unofficially over for at least a month.

Underperformance from key players like Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Xander Bogaerts played a role in a disappointing 69-78 record. As did injuries to pitchers like Joe Musgrove that exposed a lack of depth in the organization.

But according to a new report from Kevin Acee at the San Diego Union-Tribune, there’s another factor that contributed to the disastrous results.

The Padres’ clubhouse culture is a trainwreck.

Acee reported that in conversations with numerous players and other officials, there was a clear pattern that emerged, with much of it centering around Machado. The Padres lack “cohesion and a central purpose,” according to Acee, exemplified by the fact that virtually none of their players participate in pregame workouts, and are frequently late to team events or transportation.

Machado went on the record to defend himself from accusations that he doesn’t set the right tone for the team.

“I know that I’ve gone above and beyond for everyone,” Machado told Acee. “I will always go above and beyond for everyone. I think everybody knows that. I go out there and I pour my heart and soul into a team. … Ultimately, I know what I bring to the team. I know what I’ve always brought to the team.”

Padres star Manny Machado
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 11: Manny Machado #13 of the San Diego Padres grounds out to first to end the top of the third inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on April 11, 2023 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Padres Problems Run Deeper Than On-Field Issues

Acee explains that experienced players believe that the Padres lack the mindset and leadership needed to maximize their results.

“According to several veterans,” Acee writes, “what also does not exist is a team with a ‘winning culture’ that doesn’t include the best players being the hardest workers and those players demonstrating in word and deed to the rest of the team what is expected and tolerated.”

While there’s blame to go around, teammates said Machado sets the tone in the clubhouse and is given a lot of leeway and is held to a different, more lax standard than other superstars.

For his part, Machado says he doesn’t think culture is to blame, but did say the Padres “just didn’t want it” as much as other teams.

“I think we just didn’t want it,” Machado said. “I think overall as a group, we didn’t want it as bad as Seattle did or as bad as some of these other teams. 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.”

That’s not what you want to hear. And while he’s right that winning breeds good chemistry, admitting that other teams wanted to win more than they did does speak to a problematic cultural issue.

Historic Futility In San Diego

The 2023 Padres have been one of baseball’s worst team in key situations. To a degree that’s virtually unprecedented.


Clubhouse chemistry may be overrated, but the individualistic nature of Padres players has been obvious to anyone following the team in 2023.

Key contributors often seem more concerned with their own individual accomplishments and celebrations than they do in winning games. Far too often, players will excessively admire home runs while losing late in games.

There’s little interest in doing what’s necessary to win, as evidenced by the disinterest in showing up for workouts and pre-game practice.

Acee revealed that in numerous team meetings, there’d be a plan of action set up to ensure problems got fixed. But those plans would quickly be ignored. And sure enough, the Padres find themselves functionally eliminated with weeks to go in the season.

The core of the team is signed for years; 10 more for Machado, 11 for Bogaerts, Darvish, Cronenworth and Tatis are all on lengthy deals. So if things don’t change quickly, this problematic culture may only get worse in the coming years.

Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, author, and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, traveling, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter @ianmSC

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