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Peter Seidler’s attachment to A.J. Preller beyond 2022 doesn’t send the right message to the fans

Padres owner Peter Seidler made a worrisome comment on Wednesday regarding A.J. Preller’s future if San Diego doesn’t make the postseason in 2022

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Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

Peter Seidler has earned a lot of fans’ respect for allowing his general manager, A.J. Preller, to bring in star players that cost a lot of money in an effort to bring a championship to San Diego. However, he has a strange attachment to Preller that doesn’t send the right message to the fan base.

After Preller addressed the media on Wednesday afternoon regarding his decision to fire Jayce Tingler, Seidler made himself available to the media. According to Dennis Lin of The Athletic, Seidler expressed confidence in Preller’s ability to build a winner.

“I know A.J. really well. I know very well, I think, what it takes to be a successful executive in baseball. And I 100 percent believe in the set of skills he brings to our organization,” Seidler said on Wednesday. “It was A.J.’s leadership that got us to what we achieved last year [in 2020]. But I see a whole set of skills that I want in that role, and I’m 100 percent committed to A.J. and 100 percent trust him.”

This response from Seidler is fine. At the end of the day, Preller was the one that put this team in a position on paper to make a deep run into October. He’s the one that constructed the best rotation in baseball, according to FanGraphs, going into the 2021 season.

However, facts are facts and the facts say that Preller has yet to have a winning record for a full season in his tenure as the club’s general manager. In 2021, the Padres absolutely should’ve had a winning record even with all of the pitching injuries because that’s how much talent they had offensively. But they didn’t.

Therefore, there needs to be accountability from ownership to say ‘We’re not going to accept another season where we don’t make the postseason’. Except that didn’t really happen on Wednesday during the Seidler conference call.

I’m not saying Seidler didn’t take ownership for the club’s bad season. In fact, he said, “I think we’ve all got to look in the mirror and own our part in that, starting with me.”

The problem, though, is he didn’t hold his general manager accountable on Wednesday for how the team that he constructs will do this season. Seidler was asked the following question:

You extended A.J. (through 2026) less than a year ago, but a lot of people are speculating that if you don’t make the playoffs in 2022, this could be A.J.’s job on the line. What would you say to that?

Seidler’s response?

“It’s not true.”

That’s the wrong response. I know I’m just a diehard fan of the team but Preller needs to have higher expectations set on him. He needs to be held more accountable.

He has missed on his last two managers. He has made Padres fans go through another rebuild after failing an attempt to build a winner with a bunch of splashy additions in 2015. He then failed to upgrade the rotation at this year’s trade deadline when it was obvious it needed help.

How much more leash does he get?

If Preller brings in a veteran manager but there are big injuries to players like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado, which essentially prevents them from making the postseason, then maybe Seidler can give him more leash. But if the roster remains healthy and everything is in place, the Padres must make the playoffs. That needs to be the expectation.

And if they don’t and Seidler decides to stay with Preller, then what does that say about his commitment to putting the right people in place so that the Padres can win their first World Series?

I really appreciate what Seidler (and Ron Fowler for that matter) has done for the Padres organization, specifically over the last few years, but there’s no doubt that Preller needs to feel like he’s on the hot seat going into this offseason or else how can we expect for change to happen when he doesn’t feel like he needs to win right now?