After being hired by the Padres as their new general manager, A.J. Preller’s previous run-in with the disciplinarian arm of Major League Baseball came to light and created quite a stir. A few years back, Preller was scouting players in the Dominican Republic when he began negotiating with a player who had been suspended for providing false age and/or identification. Talking contract with a suspended player is of course not allowed, and Major League Baseball handed him a three-month suspension, which was later shortened to one month. International prospects are of course Preller’s specialty, one of the things that made him so attractive to the Padres’ organization.
While this particular digression is behind him, it does display one key aspect of Preller. That being, he doesn’t always follow the rules. In baseball, where rules and regulations are strict, and those who don’t play along are ostracized, this is a dangerous trait to possess.
Recent articles have highlighted the controversy surrounding Seattle Mariner’s General Manager, Jack Zduriencik and Philadelphia Phillies GM, Ruben Amaro Jr. and their negotiating tactics. Their unorthodox methods have led to the inability to make trades with other big league clubs. For the Mariners, a club currently competing in the American League, they can afford to make some daring decisions. But for the Padres, Preller’s daring nature may be detrimental to the organization. For a team in a rebuilding process, every move Preller makes is vital. Conducting trades to acquire Major League or Minor League talent will be necessary for the team to eventually compete and that will only happen if the Friars’ new General Manager can keep his methods closer to the level of what Major League Baseball deems acceptable.
A.J. Preller’s area of expertise is the international market for young talent, and it’s something that the Padres are looking to dive into and become heavily invested in. While the regulations regarding spending in this department are pretty loose (As evident by multiple teams repeatedly going over their allotted spending budget), the rules about suspensions and things of that manner are handled with extreme seriousness. If Preller and his regime violate these regulations, the Padres could be put under harsh penalties which would put a huge dent in the future plans of the organization. Also, if Preller was able to risk it once, he could also make some other daring decisions while working for the Padres. Ownership and the board of directors should be really weary of Preller’s tactics, and should make sure the man hired to lift the organization from the ground, doesn’t end up burying it.