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Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, signed as a free agent in the offseason, has cooled off after a hot start. Photo via Twitter
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Padres not getting bang for owner’s bucks so far

The Padres ride into Los Angeles this weekend where they look to continue their dominance of the Dodgers, and the entire National League, one month into the season. 

This super team funded by owner Peter Seidler and built by his trusty and bold general manager, Encinitas’ A.J. Preller, is shredding the competition as many baseball insiders predicted after an offseason of splashy acquisitions that gave the Padres four of the game’s top position players, a wealth of starting pitching and crafty relievers who are the envy of their penny-pinching rivals.


That was supposed to be the narrative with the Padres tangling with the Dodgers for the second time this season.

Instead, with baseball being, well, baseball, the Padres are nowhere near where most everyone, me included, anticipated. They have muddled through a season that is no longer fresh, although it still has miles to go.

What are the mitigating circumstances for the Padres’ break from the gate that has been anything but fulfilling? 

There are countless ones, but are those reasons justified or just convenient off-ramps on the expressway of excuses?

The local nine did start with a demanding schedule, facing many of baseball’s top teams from the get-go.

Outfielder Fernando Tatis Jr. missed the first 20 contests as he paid his debt for cheating.

Starters Yu Darvish (World Baseball Classic) and Joe Musgrove (injuries) were compromised when the curtain lifted for the season.

All-everything outfielder Juan Soto, billed as a generational player by his agent seeking a contract north of the $450 million, has been Juan So-so. His ailments aren’t physical, instead, his shortcomings are tied to — take a deep breath — getting comfortable in San Diego, the new pitch clock, place in the batting order and the bed he was sleeping in.

Third baseman Manny Machado? The finalist for last year’s NL MVP award hasn’t found his groove, with many pointing to his balky back.

Second baseman Ha-Seong Kim, catcher Austin Nola, center fielder Trent Grisham, and first baseman Jake Cronenworth all sport averages that have little bark or bite. The steep decline in the lineup after the big four — Xander Bogaerts, Machado, Tatis, Soto — is dramatic.

“We’re still above .500,” Bogaerts said. “That’s not the baseball we want to play, but we started off pretty bad.”

Bogaerts is a joy, beginning the season in a manner that one expects from a superstar. But his bat has cooled and just when does this barrage of offense show its teeth?

It wasn’t last weekend when the Padres attempted to win their first home series against the Dodgers since 2021. They triumphed in the scoreboard competition when trolling L.A. ace Clayton Kershaw after beating him in the opener, but the final two games were a downer.

Then again, does any of this matter?

The Padres finished 22 games behind the first-place Dodgers in 2022 and then eliminated them from the playoffs. Shouldn’t those rockin’ brown-and-yellow exude some San Diego chill as the regular season and the postseason are horses of a different color?

Good advice, but Seidler didn’t spend roughly $250 million to hopefully get in as a wild-card team and play another series on its way to its first World Series title. This roster was built to bash the Dodgers, winners of the NL West every year but one — when they won 106 games — in the last decade.

Those following baseball know that money can’t buy you love or punch your ticket to greatness. If so, the big-spending New York Yankees would have more than 27 titles after more than a century of digging into their pockets.

That the Padres’ obligations to those in uniform exceed the Yankees’ outlay is a sentence few thought would ever be written.

Then again, a minority expected the Padres to be around .500, sending their fans into a May gray that has nothing to do with our persistent marine layer.

We realize the season is a long-distance run rather than a fast-twitch sprint. But the Padres need to prove they’re not paper tigers.

L.A. is known as “Shaky Town,” and just maybe, that’s where the mediocre Padres finally find their footing.

Contact Jay Paris at [email protected] and follow him @jparis_sports