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A.J. Preller interviewed by Darren Smith

Here are my notes from the interview.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Padres GM A.J. Preller interviewed by Darren Smith (MP3)

  • Preller couldn't figure out how to get into the ballpark this morning at 7:30 am.
  • The welcoming press conference was nice but he's anxious to get to work.
  • He's aware of his "Maverick" label in the industry and media. 
  • Preller likes how quickly that momentum can change in baseball.
  • He was attracted to the vision that Padres ownership has for the club.  They want to build a sustainable championship organization from top to bottom.  Ultimately he likes the challenge that Padres offer him.
  • "You're always looking at the teams ahead of you in the division. Those are the teams you have to shoot for and be better than."
  • The Padres came into this season with a meaningful payroll.  Preller says you can win at different price points with talent and hard work.  "You can take your payroll up and down depending on where you are at on the talent spectrum as an organization."
  • The payroll will not prohibit the Padres from winning a World Series.  "You can win with all different payrolls really."  Ownership won't hesitate to make a financial commitment to put the team over the top.
  • Preller is interested in creating the "Padres' Model".  He's not interested in modeling the team after other franchises.  He wants to take pride in being a Padre member.
  • Preller was allowed to wear a lot of different hats with the Rangers and work in different units within the baseball front office.  He has well-rounded experience and isn't only focused on international scouting.
  • He did teach himself Spanish but denies he did it in 3 weeks time.  "If that's what people want to believe then I'll go with it." He was immersed in the language when scouting in Spanish speaking countries.
  • He's looking forward to going to the Padres' Dominican facility.  Now that he's a GM his time will be distributed differently. He's interested into talking to the academy staff and advisers.
  • A manager is a crucial position in the organization.  He wants someone that is bold, has leadership skills, has the passion to win and believes in the organizations philosophy.
  • Preller was disciplined by Major League Baseball while with the Rangers organization.  He won't go into the details. There was a "slap on the wrist" for Preller and Rangers.  They had a disagreement with the MLB on the international front.  There was no rule violation.  He ultimately cleared himself but he was suspended.  He felt fine with the way he and his group handled themselves.
  • He's spent a lot of time with Josh Stein and Fred Uhlman today.  He's looking for areas that they can improve upon.
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels says that Preller is now the most eligible bachelor in Southern California. "I'd be pretty shocked if that were the case."