When Logan White returned to the San Diego Padres after more than a decade of working with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, he didn’t return to America’s Finest City to find strangers. In fact, White returned to find two close friends and confidants in new general manager A.J. Preller and Don Welke, the Padres’ VP of Scouting. The three men worked together with the Dodgers earlier in their careers, and White’s relationship with Welke goes back the 1990s, as both men scouted for the Baltimore Orioles.
So what makes this reunion that much more special? Most like the fact that all the pieces are in place talent and evaluation-wise, to make the Friars a serious contender now, not years down the road. White, who has a background in kinesiology and exercise physiology, has always used his background in helping to determine what players made good fits for a team and those he should pass on. White is considered a scouting genius, having been the one to push forward with a relative unknown in Yasiel Puig for the Boys in Blue.
White was instrumental in helping the Padres determine that Matt Kemp still has something left in the tank, and that the team should make the deal that brought the former MVP runner-up to San Diego. Despite all the concerns surrounding Kemp’s ability to stay healthy, White was the one who knew what the team was getting. He and Kemp go back years, as White was the one who drafted Kemp, along with Clayton Kershaw and former Dodgers’ All-Star catcher Russell Martin.
White also gave personal and professional insight to the non-roster invite signings of Griff Erickson, Trayvon Robinson and Scott Elbert–all of whom came through the Dodgers’ organization on White’s watch. According to Dennis Lin of the UT-San Diego, White has stated that the level of comfort working with Preller and Welke among others, has allowed the organization to “…have a chance to impact stuff really quickly. To me, it’s just been really refreshing.”
The Padres have been one of the most active teams this winter, taking a team that had and still possesses one of the best top-to-bottom pitching staffs in the National League, and revamped an offense that historically was one of the worst-hitting over the past half century. White knows he hasn’t been successful just based on his performance and hard work. He gives credit where it is rightfully due:
"I’ve been fortunate to have been around a lot of good people — pitching coaches, execs, managers, scouts. They’ve all helped me. The one thing is, I’m very competitive and I want to be the best.”"
If White’s previous successes in scouting and drafting are any indication of things to come for the Padres’ organization, feel confident Friar Faithful, this winter is just the start of something very special for San Diego baseball for years to come.
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