Posted on December 3, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
The San Diego Padres are midway through a massive rebuilding project. But they trust the person running the show enough to give him the job security he needs to see the project to its conclusion. That person is GM A.J. Preller, who has been given a contact extension that will keep him in San Diego through the 2022 season. Preller was already under contract through the 2019 season. But the extra three years leave no doubt that the Padres feel they’re moving in the right direction.
“As in other business models, when people are doing a good job you tend to want to reward them,” says Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler. “We felt the extension of his contract would show the confidence we have in him. Frankly, people award long-term contracts to players. We feel we should do it with the people running our baseball organization. We think they’re very good. We don’t want them looking over their shoulders as to a contract being over.”
The three-year extension for Preller matches the three-year extension the Padres gave to manager Andy Green back in August. Green is under contract through 2021, leaving no doubt that he and Preller are in charge of leading the Padres to prominence. Even if the rebuilding process takes a few more years, the Padres at least know that the club’s leadership won’t change anytime soon.
“With the contract extension, you have the time to follow through on the work we’ve done,” Preller said Saturday. “I saw it basically as a vote of confidence in the plan.”
Of course, the Padres have experienced very little winning since Preller took over as GM in 2014. He also served a 30-day suspension after the team failed to disclose medical information when trading Drew Pomeranz to the Red Sox. However, Preller has also pulled off a slew of trades to rebuild the organization from the bottom up. In the process, he has built one of the best farm systems in baseball, creating genuine hope for a brighter future.
“When I took over the job, if you’d said three years in we’d be positioned with some nice young players at the big-league level, a farm system that people view as one of the better ones in the game, a staff and big-league manager we think has a chance to be dynamic, a front-office group that makes me better every single day, I think that’s a good place to be in,” Preller said in his evaluation of the organization. “Now we have to prove it at the big-league level and continue to grow.”
The Padres are still not set up to compete in 2018, or even 2019. They have a cornerstone player in Wil Myers signed to a long-term deal and a promising young outfield. But they are yet to find long-term solutions in their infield and many of their top pitching prospects are not yet ready to contribute at the major league level. However, the team’s ownership understands that the rebuilding process will take time. They like the job Preller has done so far and have complete confidence that he’ll be able to finish the job.
“A.J.’s really earned this extension,” says Padres managing partner Peter Seidler. “He’s built a great organization around him, and that’s seen from scouting all the way through Andy Green and the major league staff. Personally, I couldn’t be happier. We’ve got a ways to go, but I think it’s with confidence we extend him and with confidence we think we’re on the right path.”