With the Texas Rangers Assistant General Manager A.J. Preller interviewed on Monday the Padres have brought their total interviewee count up to 5 for the vacant GM position. Preller is the 2nd Assistant General Manager interviewed, with the others either being scouting directors and a former GM. Assistant GM's usually carry responsibilities that are closer to being an actual GM than a scouting director would and should have a leg up when interviewing. In Preller's case he was the assistant to Jon Daniels in Texas, who helped orchestrate the Rangers' long turnaround from perennial loser and also-ran to World Series contender.
Preller is a recent promotee to the Assistant GM position having just moved up in 2013. Many would have thought that fellow Rangers Assistant GM Thad Levine would be next in line as a future GM, but it would seem that the Padres are more interested in Preller because of his experience with player development and scouting. Preller has been with the Rangers longer than the Levine, originally as a scout hired away from the Dodgers by his former Cornell fraternity brother Daniels. His experience as a scout comes from the international side where he is credited with finds from Japan, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and other parts of Latin America. Baseball Prospectus recently wrote this about him in their article on GM candidates:
Current role: Assistant General Manager (Rangers)
Skill set: Was one of the chief architects of the Rangers’ farm transformation in his previous roles as International Scouting Director and Director of Player Personnel, overseeing and executing the signings of Jurickson Profar and Rougned Odor, and procuring Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz via trade. Known as one of the best all-around talent evaluators in the industry, particularly in the Latin American market, Preller has existed in the shadows thus far in his career, but his resume could eventually propel him into a more public role as the face of a front office.
Preller seems like a baseball rat, but not your traditional kind. He wrote a paper in college on baseball in Latin America. He interned with the Phillies. Took a unpaid position in the Arizona Fall League where he made a connection with Frank Robinson and later worked with him in the MLB office. From there he went into scouting. With the Rangers he has helped build and oversee a large scouting department and has accrued years of baseball experience from many different levels of the organization.
Some of the information in this piece came from an article in the Cornell Alumni Magazine.