A season that started with the highest of intentions before poor play derailed it took another hit Tuesday as the Padres were fined for international scouting infractions and A.J. Preller is left with a second black mark on his record as reported by Scott Miller. Can you imagine the roller-coaster that rookie General Manager A.J. Preller has had this season? He gets hired to come to San Diego from Texas and joins the team at the end of last season. Already things are looking up, right? Both teams had bad years last season so he didn’t seem to be missing too much in the winning department.
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In the off-season he steals the show, bringing in Matt Kemp on a club friendly deal, nabs Justin Upton from the Braves in a trade, fantasy baseball trades his way to Wil Myers and Derek Norris and signs stud free agent pitcher James Shields – a guy who just started Game 7 of the World Series – to a bargain free agency deal. He looks around, pats on the back everywhere, and for a grand finale brings in the top closer in the game Craig Kimbrel on the eve of the season. Then the team starts losing as the pitching falls apart and Matt Kemp isn’t hitting anything.
As the All-Star Break comes, they start a little winning streak to claw back into contention so he makes essentially ZERO moves at the trade deadline thinking his team is hitting their stride and ready to parade into first place – kind of like his former team Texas had started to do though they did acquire ace Cole Hamels at the deadline. Then…with that window done the team can’t buy a win and they will likely wind up with a worse record in 2015 than they did in 2014 with nearly a brand new cast of characters.
Then an event like Tuesday happens, where your biggest talent – international scouting – takes a hit as you are hit with an MLB infraction for breaking the rules! It had happened before with Texas a couple of years back. This one is allegedly for holding a workout in Aruba in June and flying out Venezuelan players for the workout. The Padres paid for some of their parents, airfares, meals, and lodging as well. According to MLB rules it is forbidden to take players who are under draft age out of their country for work-outs.
Essentially, it seems amazing that no one did their research on this one. While we can tell that Preller is a pretty brazen personality, it seems like somebody else could’ve done some simple research and found some players who were of eligible age if you are going to do an early work out like this. If Preller knew about it and pushed through it is different, but come on Padres!
The fine amount is undisclosed according to Miller Padres President Mike Dee said that he considered the matter closed in his head. That said, Preller is now 1 year into a 5 year deal and bad press like this to go along with a losing record is not the way he was hoping to finish out his first season as the Padres General Manager. More info to come as it becomes available on this matter.