Over the past three years, the Padres organization has been overhauled from the ground up. From the talent in the system to the staff that is working to develop prospects into MLB professionals, the job that general manager A.J. Preller has done is remarkable to say the least. His contract was due to expire in 2019, but the Padres have done the right thing to ensure that he will stay around to bring his vision to light:
The Padres have signed A.J. Preller to a three-year extension. The GM is under contract through 2022. News story: https://t.co/eJac6V1CXO— Dennis Lin (@sdutdennislin) December 3, 2017
While some of Preller’s moves have been criticized, notably the flurry of trades that fell flat in the 2015 season and the medical records SNAFU, he’s done exactly what he was brought on board to do. He inherited a minor league system full of players with decent floors but limited ceilings, and he’s restocked those shelves with high-potential athletes that are lined up to bring waves of talent to Petco Park in the coming years. To stem the tides of past failures, he’s brought in new player development and evaluation staff members, and we’ve already seen some glimpses of their successes. Preller had this to say on Saturday about his time so far with the Padres:
“The whole baseball operations department’s worked really hard the last few years on the scouting front, the development front, to put the organization in the right direction,” Preller said Saturday. “I love the people I work with, the people I work for, and I see it as a chance to continue building something special here with the understanding that it’s still going to take some time to get where we want to get to.
“With the contract extension, you have the time to follow through on the work we’ve done. … I saw it basically as a vote of confidence in the plan.”
The Padres are now approaching a tipping point in this process. A handful of the most talented players Preller inherited have made their debut with the Padres and have begun to flourish at the big league level, and the debut of Phil Maton, who Preller drafted in 2015, represented a changing of the guard. In 2018 we will continue to see an influx of talent acquired under Preller’s leadership, while the team works to emerge from an extended slump in the win-loss record to inch closer to future contention. This extension ensures that the captain of this ship will remain at the helm to reap the fruits of his labor. Congratulations are due, he’s earned this, but the job has only just begun.