Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 13
Bleacher Report's Scott Miller reports the latest on Preller's situation in San Diego:
Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 6
The Padres made the A.J. Preller signing official via a press release:
The team announced this afternoon that A.J. Preller has been named Executive Vice President/General Manager of the San Diego Padres.
Lead Investor Peter Seidler, Padres Executive ChairmanRon Fowler and President and CEO Mike Dee made the announcement from Petco Park this afternoon.
Preller, 37, becomes the 10th general manager in Padres history. He joins the San Diego club from the Texas Rangers, where he served as assistant general manager alongside General Manager Jon Daniels.
Welcome to San Diego, A.J.! pic.twitter.com/lNEzwKoOcR— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 6, 2014
The Padres tweeted some of the more notable quotes after A.J. Preller conducted a conference call with the media:
Preller on identifying talent in Latin America: "We'll look to develop a process that will bring championship caliber talent to San Diego"— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 7, 2014
Preller on player development: "It's our job to speed cycle along to put a better product on the field next few months & into next year."— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 7, 2014
Preller:"Will be a relentless pursuit for talent. Ownership to make commitment to support that. Single-minded focus to bring a championship"— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 7, 2014
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports previously reported on Preller's deal in San Diego:
Rangers executive A.J. Preller has accepted a five-year deal to become general manager of the Padres, sources said.
There are still working on finalizing things, but there is an agreement.
The San Diego Padres have reportedly hired A.J. Preller to be their next general manager, ending a six-week search for a replacement following the firing of Josh Byrnes.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal has the news:
Sources: #Padres hire A.J. Preller as GM.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 6, 2014
Preller and New York Yankees executive Billy Eppler established themselves as front-runners for the job, while the extensive search also included Boston Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen and MLB senior vice president for baseball operations Kim Ng.
In the end, though, San Diego elected to go with Preller, 36, who joined the Texas Rangers in 2004 and was promoted to assistant GM in November. He oversaw the international, professional and amateur scouting departments, playing a vital role in putting together one of the best farm systems in baseball.
Texas' minor league pipeline is currently ranked No. 9 in the majors, according to Baseball Prospectus, but it was as high as No. 2 a year ago before losing prospects such as Jurickson Profar and Martin Perez to The Show.
While the Rangers have been terrible in 2014, there's no questioning the level of talent—Joey Gallo and Jorge Alfaro made Baseball America's midseason top-50 prospect list—Preller has helped accrue. Over the last four seasons, the Rangers have three postseason appearances and a pair of trips to the World Series, and Preller has been a major part of that.
General manager Jon Daniels spoke highly of his former college roommate following the most recent promotion, via MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan:
A.J. and Mike (Daly) have been instrumental in this franchise's success over the last several years, especially when it has come to scouting and bringing quality players into the organization.
These promotions to more responsibilities on the player-development side are well-deserved and will make us a stronger organization, further strengthening the bonds between player development and scouting, as well as the Major and Minor Leagues.
The Pioneer Press' Mike Berardino and Baseball America's J.J. Cooper also praised the Padres' new hire:
If reports are true very nice hire by the Padres. A.J. Preller is the right mix of smarts, acumen and scouting.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) August 6, 2014
It's unknown how Preller will handle free-agent negotiations, trade talks and other intricacies of the job, but he's young, and he has already proved to be a tremendous judge of talent.
That's exactly what the Padres, who are currently 51-61 and have just one winning season since 2008, are looking for. They need to stockpile talent, and they need to do it without overspending in the winter. Preller, especially thanks to his international ties, can help do that.
As for the Rangers, this is a significant blow to their front office. The current rebuilding project just got considerably more difficult.