Wow. That was a crazy last two days. The San Diego Padres have gone from offensively-challenged perennial doormat to what looks like a dark horse World Series contender. And it’s all thanks to the tireless effort and dogged determination of new general manager A.J. Preller.
Preller took over the team in August and bided his time getting to know the organization inside and out. He retained key members of the coaching and scouting staff, then he hit the ground running this offseason. First he made hard runs at Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas and free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval. He missed on both of those guys but immediately shifted his attention to the trade market.
Preller swung a deal for an All-Star outfielder in Matt Kemp, prying him away from the rival Los Angeles Dodgers without giving up a top prospect and also got the boys in blue to chip in with $32 million to help pay Kemp’s salary. Then in a massive 11-player swap, Preller got former wunder-prospect Wil Myers from the Tampa Bay Rays, again without surrendering one of his top four prospects. Those two moves already made it a successful offseason, but Preller wasn’t even close to done.