Before yesterday began, the Padres sat six games behind the NL West leading Dodgers, and were still a salvageable 32-33. That record didn't set well with GM A.J. Preller however, and subsequently relieved Bud Black of his managing duties. Despite being just one game under .500, and having the support of his players, Preller wasn't happy with how the season was progressing, and has now installed Pat Murphy as the interim manager.
It all starts with a major overhaul
After taking control of the team, Preller began retooling the big league club, while parting with a significant amount of their minor league talent in the process. He acquired Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and Justin Upton to fill the outfield, brought in a prized right-hander in James Shields, and traded for Craig Kimbrel on opening day. He succeeded in making the Padres relevant in the offseason, but it unfortunately hasn't translated to good results on the field.
Their outfield is a defensively historical mess, Myers hasn't been able to stay healthy this season, and Kemp has just two home runs at the half-way point of June. Shields has pitched well (despite a horrid HR/9 rate of 1.64), but Andrew Cashner and Ian Kennedy have been disappointing. Their bullpen, which was supposed to be a strength, has been the 25th least valuable group in baseball this year, and is just another reason for the Padres' lackluster season.
Perhaps it could still come together?
Regardless of all the shortcomings from their players, Preller apparently still sees them as a winning team in 2015, and isn't ready to admit that his reconstruction didn't work. The firing of Black and installation of Murphy seems to be Preller's last ditch effort at kickstarting the Padres, before potentially parting with as much talent as he can.
While he depleted the Padres farm system in an incredible amount of time, he was likely able to do so given how many players could easily be dealt if the team didn't play to his expectations. If Murphy can't steer San Diego towards a winning record, Preller has more than a few tradable assets in the lead up to the July 31st deadline.
What would a Padres fire sale look like?
Casher, Kennedy, Kimbrel, Upton, Tyson Ross, and other pieces could all be sold off to the highest bidder. Preller has already shown that he's not afraid to shake things up -- and if this recent attempt fails, more players could be on the move.
He'll still have to deal with the cumbersome deal he inherited with Melvin Upton Jr., and what's left of Matt Kemp's contract, but there are a number of ways for Preller to upgrade his team before 2016. He has the ability to move a significant amount players that still hold value, and could bring back more than a few prospect packages to help replenish their system.