Contrary to what most believe, A.J. Preller has made huge mistakes when it comes to trades and transactions for the San Diego Padres.
He has done well to adjust the franchise’s mindset and cultivate young talent. You shouldn’t take that away from him.
The farm system is currently ranked #1 in all of baseball. He had a huge hand in that, and the present #1 ranking has far more merit than when the team had a #1 ranking just before he took over as the Padres’ G.M. in August of 2014. The talent in this farm system is very young and sustainable. There will be more than just one grouping of prospects that reach the major league level. This is about longevity and turning the whole franchise around. There finally is a future for this team.
Mistakes happen. You make enough trades, and sooner or later, you will get burned. That is fine. Defining and predicting a player’s worth is not an exact science. It is difficult to do. Every team makes mistakes in this regard. The Padres have done well in identifying young players and bringing them aboard. They have struggled at evaluating major leaguers and their value, but hopefully, the additions of people like Dave Cameron will help solve that issue. It takes time to turn around what has been historically a mess in San Diego.
A.J. Preller is not perfect. He has made errors. We are all human.
Here are five major mistakes he has made with this team. To all those haters. Enjoy.
In my opinion, this was the worst of all his transactions. At the time, I, personally, was very angry about this addition to the team. Kemp grew on me to be tolerable, but baseball fans knew that he was not motivated on a daily basis, and committing that kind of money to him was just plain stupid. The Padres needed a face. A star. I get that. But the team could have done better if they had some patience.
The fact that the Padres had to take on someone with a checkered past, like Cuban’ infielder Hector Oliveras from the Braves, and eat his entire salary to rid themselves of Kemp is a joke. The plot thickens, as Matt Kemp is now on the Dodgers and has all the motivation in the world to terrorize the Padres every chance he gets. To top it off, the Padres dealt the Dodgers a serviceable catcher in Yasmani Grandal in the deal, plus prospects. This one is a head-scratcher. I honestly don’t know what they expected out of Kemp. His numbers were in a decline, and he had a bad attitude that was infectious.
Turner/Myers trade and then an extension
This one gets all the hype, but I still don’t have a major issue with it (yet). I know Turner looks like a perennial all-star, but Myers still has a chance to be productive and help justify the deal to some degree. The Padres needed to take a chance, and acquiring a very young talent like Myers was exciting for this franchise on the rise. He had never played an entire season and looked poised to possibly break out as a major leaguer. He did to some degree in 2016 but fell back to being inconsistent last year. This 2018 season, he has been DL’d twice, and fans are really starting to get inpatient with him.
The trade was bad, don’t get me wrong. However, the extension of Myers after only one productive year might be the worst decision of all. The trade is what it is, but that extension of Wil could hurt the team down the road and be way worse of a transaction. The team had no reason to extend him. He was not due for free agency for years, and they committed to him far too early. It was a nice sentiment to extend a young player, but Myers had too many question marks to invest heavily into his future. In time, he may work out, but he has a long road to climb to justify this deal, and Jake Bauers is just about to start his career in Tampa. You will hear more about him as he was a young prospect thrown into the deal for the Rays. He looks to be the real deal.
Signing James Shields
Speaking of big money. The team gave James Shields four years and $75 million to lead the staff, and that’s just what he did. He led the staff right down the crapper and was called out by his owner (Ron Fowler) in his second year with the team. Shields was flipped for Fernando Tatis Jr., so this signing turned out to be a positive in the end. If not for Tatis turning into the golden child, Preller sure would hear more about this move. Shields was signed late in the free agency year, and you have to think that he had very few suitors when the Padres guaranteed him that kind of money. The need for a pitcher was there, but in the end, this was a bad move for the organization.
The Headley/Mitchell mess
Taking on $13 million from the Yankees with Chase Headley and Bryan Mitchell sounds alright when you factor in the Padres only had to send Jabari Blash to New York. However, Headley proved to worthless for the team with the emergence of Christian Villanueva, and Mitchell was horrendous in the starting rotation.
This was a gamble for the team, as they obviously valued Mitchell and his potential. The right-handed pitcher has great stuff, but that doesn’t always translate to success, and he has proven that once again. Mitchell could still have value in time, but this deal looks horrible presently. The fact the team had to eat $13 million of Yankee money and waste almost two months of a 25-man roster spot with the veteran Headley is embarrassing. Not A.J.’s best moment, as this one brings plenty of fuel to the current Preller Haters’ fire. Rightfully so, as it is very fresh in the minds of all the suffering Padre fans.
Galvis for De Los Santos
Presently, this one is up for evaluation, but the early returns aren’t good. Enyel De Los Santos is pitching really well for the Phillies’ Triple-A team and looks poised to make the major league team this season at some point. Galvis is a free agent at the end of the year and, though he has stabilized the position defensively for the Padres, hasn’t hit consistently for the team.
A straight one-for-one deal, this one will be easily evaluated in time. It will take just that, though, as De Los Santos and his mechanics are debatable, and so is the value of Galvis to this current team. If the Padres are somehow able to obtain a prospect for Galvis towards the trade deadline and possibly retain him after free agency opens, then this deal will look better for the team. That is a totally hypothetical situation as Galvis isn’t likely to fetch much in return, and he should be exploring a top-dollar multi-year deal on the open market. Something the Padres should be hesitant about handing out. De Los Santos is young and unproven, but this deal really looks bad.
***This piece was written with the intention to prove that the team is not perfect. Yes, they have made mistakes. It happens. For every bad acquisition the team has made, they have made ten quality ones. In my honest opinion, this franchise has never been in a better position for long-term success than they are set up for now. As a fan, it is difficult to watch. I realize that. Especially when it comes to the errors mentioned in this article. However, there is a future, and it is bright. You CANNOT judge the cultivation of the prospects now as 95% have yet to even arrive at Petco Park from Preller’s regime. Stay the course, and I predict this team will enjoy continued success in the game of baseball. I appreciate the comments. Thank you
James was born and raised in America’s Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of EastVillageTimes.com. Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that’s our motto. Enjoy.