San Diego Padres: Will Preller’s less than stellar reputation hamper deadline deals?

MIAMI, FL - JULY 11: Brad Hand
MIAMI, FL - JULY 11: Brad Hand /

San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller has quite a reputation among colleagues as a result of past dishonesty. How will this impact any deadline deals the front office wants to make this season?

With the All-Star festivities behind us, the MLB season will resume on Friday, and general managers will turn their attentions to the July 31,1 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline. In any other year, the local baseball news would revolve around which players will go and what kind of return the Padres will receive. Thanks to general manager A.J. Preller, however, the more important question will be whether or not other teams will even deal with the Padres.

On September 6, 2016, MLB suspended Preller for 30 days as a “result of an investigation into the team’s handling of medical information related to its Drew Pomeranz trade to the Boston Red Sox,” Abby Hamblin reported at the time in the San Diego Union Tribune. “Reaction across the league… points to this likely being a lasting stain on the Padres organization.”

Hamblin then quoted examples of those reactions from outside of San Diego. Craig Calcaterra, lead baseball writer for NBC Sports suggested that “30 days without pay is something Preller can handle I imagine. Having 29 GMs not trusting him at all is a greater penalty on the Padres.” According to Mike Bates of SB Nation “now the Padres are both reviled and a laughingstock. Now they will face additional hurdles as they try and rebuild. Now no one trusts them.”

Even the New York Times called Preller out in an article by Tyler Kepner: “The deception of A. J. Preller, the San Diego Padres’ general manager, who hid medical records from other teams in trade talks, is almost as disturbing as baseball’s response to it. Preller was suspended 30 days without pay on Thursday, an inadequate response to a serious ethical breach.”

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Ron Fowler, the executive chairman for the Padres, played down the potential problems of this ethical breach in an interview with Steve Adams and Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors: “I’m not saying there’s nothing lingering. I think there’s some teams out there that might still have some issues. But it comes down to, if we have players they want, I think they’re going to deal with us.”

Although less important, Preller also has a habit of irritating other general managers with constant phone calls coupled with a corresponding lack of response, as well as trade suggestions that are either silly or insulting depending upon one’s point of view.

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His latest foray into the latter territory came when he reportedly offered the Yankees relief pitcher Brad Hand in return for their top prospect, shortstop Gleyber Torres.

Via FanRag Sports Network Jon Heyman wrote that the Yankees “would surely trade lesser prospects for Hand but Torres is considered a potential perennial All-Star, so he isn’t going anywhere.”

Hand will probably be the first player moved by the Padres.  Neither he nor any of the veterans on the team will bring back top rate returns, and Preller needs to tailor his trade discussions accordingly.

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But more vital to the long range success of the team, this trade period will finally reveal just how much the “lasting stain” of Preller’s transgressions actually affects the San Diego Padres.