Padres Editorial: A.J. Preller Settling In…But Is He Done?


The dust is finally starting to settle after the extreme make-over provided at the hands of first year General Manager A.J. Preller for the San Diego Padres. Don’t let that make you think that he is completely finished yet though.

After all, this is the guy who just a few weeks ago landed arguably the best pitcher on the market for the Padres, and at a bargain. Yet as the spring training starts and the internal competition battles begin, Preller is certainly feeling pretty accomplished.

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As Corey Brock writes for, even team President Mike Dee isn’t sure what to think might happen next, “you never say never with him”.

For Preller, he knows that not all is perfect but he has added not only significant talent at the Major League level as well as kept his core trio of top prospects. He also knows that the talent overflow from major league camp battles will only make AAA that much stronger to deal with injuries that are bound to happen at some point.

This is not a Padres team whose only 5th outfielder from the minors will be Jeff Francoeur. No, now a standard 2014 Padres outfield of Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin and Will Venable are relegated to bench duty while the new outfield corps of Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Justin Upton figure to see the lions share of innings in the field. I mean don’t tell Cameron Maybin that but…

While the outfield is beyond set, it is the infield that does seem to have some open spots and hopefully the internal depth to patch those holes. Said Preller:

"“I think, generally, we’re more anxious to see how Spring Training goes in the infield. We’ve got a lot of options at first base and options at third base and in the middle of the infield.”"

Thanks for THAT clarification A.J., In other words, catcher isn’t a question mark especially since you traded both starting catchers from last season already. Second base is locked down financially and theoretically by Jedd Gyorko, who last year endured his worst season as a professional since his first in 2009.

I have confidence that he will dramatically improve this year and start inching closer to his minor league numbers of 30 homers a year and hitting around .300. With an improved offense around him he should see better pitches and less pressure to jack the ball into the Western Metal Supply Building each time up. Not that we won’t take more of this. 

Question marks can be good though as it does leave some flexibility into rewarding spring performances. Last year Tommy Medica had a torrid Spring Training to win a roster spot coming out of the spring, and there will surely be another story like that to see this year.

Will Cory Spangenberg be a dark horse for one of the infield spots? Will Yonder Alonso find the contact in his bat that was missing much of a 2014 and turn back into the doubles machine he was in 2012? As spring training gets rolling, finally we will start being able to answer some of these questions.

With A.J. watching, another thing we can be certain of is that if he doesn’t like the answers he won’t hesitate to get the right solution.

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