Does AJ Preller Have a Plan – Part 1

Oct 29, 2015; San Deigo, CA, USA; San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller speaks to media during a press conference at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 29, 2015; San Deigo, CA, USA; San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller speaks to media during a press conference at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

it is mid-season and nearing the All Star break. Time for the Padres and AJ Preller to take stock.

Many of the “talking heads”, who really do not know this team, speculate about trading this guy or that. Even Wil Myers is in the mix. YIKES!! But does AJ have a plan??

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I for one think AJ does.. This is different from the Winter of 2014/2015. That winter he made wholesale changes in attempt for a quick fix. Many called for his head when the Padres failed to make the playoffs. While he failed in his goal for the 2015, the reality is that he did have a successful winter of trades. (see Padre Winter of 2014/2015).

If he does have a plan, just what is it? In part 1 of my two part post we will look at the most recent past events. In Part 2 we will look at the current major league team.

Let’s start with the major off season trade of Craig Kimbrel to the Red Sox. He received back outfielder Manuel Margot, shortstop Javier Guerra, infielder Carlos Asuaje and lefty Logan Allen.  Manual is the hot outfielder/hitter prospect and is ranked #1 in the Padres system.  Pair him with Hunter Renfroe and the outfield looks to be set for young talent. OUTFIELD-CHECK

In the June draft the Padres had 3 first round picks. He chose two Pitchers, an Outfielder and a shortstop with the first four picks. Then he selected EIGHT pitchers in a row (wow). All of the first 12 picks are now signed. Now I call that restocking the minor league system. PITCHING-Check

Now let’s look at the Jamie Shields trade. AJ sent a big contract away and got a very young Fernando Tatis Jr (3b/ss) with lots of promise. However the important fact was freeing up CASH so that he could go NUTS in the recent International signings, thus planning ahead.

AJ recently traded a 39 yr old Fernando Rodney (closer). He was having a great season but was not in AJ’s overall plans. The Padres received back SP prospect Chris Paddack, who recently has been pitching lights out. Thus continue the restocking of pitching.

Now let’s look at the most recent international signings.  He signed SIX players to big bonuses, far exceeding the Major league limit. (Cash from the Shields savings), thus making a HUGE statement. ESPN has said the Padres signed 6 of the top 30 players. Way to go AJ!!

The financial commitment by the Padres shows us fans that the ownership is ready to spend money AGAIN. One of signings was Luis Almanzar (ss), ESPN had ranked as the #2 prospect available, He was given a $4 Million Dollar bonus, dwarfing the Padre’s all time bid of $2 Mil.  Think of it – DOUBLE the all time high!! Two more shortstops were also signed. INFIELD- Check

AJ was not done as he signed pitching prospect Wen-Hua Sung from Taiwan. Some rank him almost major league ready at 19 yrs old. He did not come cheap either. Lastly the signing of Cuban pitcher Adrian Morejon is a MAJOR-MAJOR financial commitment. This puts the Padres WAY over the international limit. I mean OVER the MOON amount. Pitching DOUBLE Check!!

It appears Aj and the Padres has hopefully re-stocked the Minors with tons of Pitchers both short and long term ready. Add in a reasonable amount of Hitters. (Maybe AJ signed so many shortstops to atone for past sins. But whatever, he now has plenty to choose from).

I can not emphasize enough about the amount of money AJ and the Padres just recently spent. It is absolutely mind boggling. You would think we were the Yankees or Dodgers. A BIG WOW!!   I am excited again. As a long term Padre fan, I can’t EVER remember management spending this kind of money for young prospects. EVER! Can the old timers say Matt Bush !!

Now what is his plan for successfully breaking apart the Major League. What players will make up the CORE of the team for moving forward?? That will be in part 2.