The San Diego Padres are currently without a general manager after firing Josh Byrnes in the middle of the season. A report emerging Tuesday night claims they have finally made a decision on a new GM.
Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Padres will hire Texas Rangers assistant general manager A.J. Preller as the team’s new general manager. Rumors had persisted that San Diego was on the verge of hiring Yankees executive Billy Eppler, but they switched courses and decided on Preller.
The 36-year-old Preller has been with the Rangers for 10 years and has overseen both the player development and scouting departments. He has also been a big-time advocate of finding and developing Latin American talent.
Preller represents a fresh, young angle for the Padres to take and the team’s fans should be happy with this choice. The Cornell graduate beat out Eppler, MLB senior vice president for baseball operating Kim Ng and Boston Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen for the job. Give San Diego credit, the organization didn’t rush to make a hire in the wake of Byrnes’ firing on June 23. Many franchises would have rushed to fill the role before the trade deadline, but the Padres decided to take their time and do things right.
I don’t know how Preller will turn out, but he currently has the Rangers’ farm system ranked No. 9 according to Baseball Prospectus, and had it at No. 2 last year before guys like Jurickson Profar and Martin Perez jumped to the big leagues. The guy has an eye for identifying talent and acquiring it.
Preller has been one of the hottest young names in baseball for a while and the Padres have to feel good about landing him. San Diego has a farm system stocked with young talent. The Padres have a group of fantastic pitching prospects led by former first-round picks Max Fried, Joe Ross and Zach Eflin, and righty Matt Wisler. Offensively Austin Hedges is the top catching prospect in baseball, and guys like Hunter Renfroe, Trea Turner and Rymer Liriano are all in the pipeline and could come quickly. The team also acquired shortstop Jose Rondon and second baseman Taylor Lindsey from the Los Angeles Angels at the trade deadline.
So Preller has a lot to work with in his new system already. The key will be getting in and quickly acquainting himself with the organization from top to bottom. For now, Padres fans should be happy with the franchise’s choice.