Skip to main content

Manny Machado, San Diego Padres team culture under attack in new insider report

It’s no secret that the San Diego Padres, who sit 20 games back of the NL West entering play today, have fallen well short of expectations. A new report from Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune paints a clear picture of just some of the issues facing the Padres this season, including what he describes as a “leadership void.”

Part of the problem reportedly lies with Manny Machado and how naturally gifted he is. Machado’s clearly the ‘leader’ of the clubhouse. His $350 million contract reflects that. But besides his ability at the plate and in the field, how much does he contribute to building a winning culture?

The unanimous consensus among the more than 30 individuals questioned pointed to Machado controlling the clubhouse and setting the tone and personality for the team. This takeaway was reached due to the long leash given to him. Not to mention the fact that he’s reportedly given messages from the front office that he’s supposed to relay to his teammates instead of them hearing it from team personnel directly. But Machado didn’t really agree, pushing back on many of these narratives, while saying “I think everybody is a leader.”

The report stresses that the larger culture problem is not a matter of teammates not liking each other or lacking work ethic or anything of the sort. Instead, it points to a lack of engagement in the clubhouse. They lack cohesion, with the best players, like Machado, off doing their own things instead of helping instill key values in younger or less talented players.

It’s led to “several” close to the Padres organization suggesting there is a “leadership void” in the clubhouse, but even that criticism cannot be placed on the shoulders of one person. From the decision-makers at the top building the roster to how manager Bob Melvin controls the clubhouse, to each individual teammates’ actions, this is on everyone.

Machado doesn’t feel there are any culture issues within the Padres’ clubhouse.

“What is this, college baseball?” he said at one point. “What is this, high school?”

Manny Machado responding to reports of a lack of culture in Padres clubhouse

Many players stated that this is the “strangest season” they’ve ever experienced, including their time in the minor leagues. When asked why the team’s culture issues have not been addressed in-house, some individuals said the topics have already been covered but fell on deaf ears. This included what some estimated were “eight or nine” team meetings involving various members of the organization, including players-only get-togethers. Machado was said to be a central force in each one, becoming a primary speaker on each occasion before failing to follow through on promises only days later. But again, he was not the only person who was guilty of this, yet the fact that the team leader failed to set the tone, didn’t go unnoticed.

While a lack of culture may be evident, ultimately winning cures everything, and for whatever reason, the Padres just couldn’t get in the win column often enough this season.

Still, to Machado, it comes down to one thing, the Padres didn’t perform, which leads to turmoil.

“And these conversations start happening. ‘Oh, well, there’s no chemistry, there’s no leadership or there’s no this or there’s no that. The clubhouse is getting lost. The manager has lost the clubhouse, the front office this.’ There’s always gonna be stuff. And ultimately it comes down to one thing: We didn’t perform. I didn’t perform what I’m capable of performing. We didn’t perform. Because that’s just what it is. And you’ve got to take full responsibility (for) that. At the end of the day, it’s whatever you do in between the lines when you put on that jersey, and you go out there and you leave it on the field. So that’s the story. I don’t think there’s anything else that can be talked about.”

Manny Machado continues

Related: New York Yankees among MLB teams already linked to potential Mike Trout trade in 2024