In September of 2016, Dave Cameron wrote an article entitled “It Feels Like the Padres Got Off Easy” on the website FanGraphs.
He referenced A.J. Preller’s suspension for withholding medical data in trade discussions and made it clear he considered the team’s excuse that it was an accident “laughably unbelievable.” Thus the announcement earlier this month that Cameron will join Preller in the front office comes as a bit of a shock.
Cameron himself expressed surprise at his decision to leave FanGraphs after 10 years.
He’d helped the company grow from next to nothing into one of the go-to spots for statistical information as well as insightful commentary on major league baseball. When Cameron wrote that article in 2016, he undoubtedly never imagined he would end up working with the aforementioned Preller in the Padres’ front office. Cameron will help Preller and company (including assistant general manager Josh Stein and farm director Sam Geaney) build a research and development department.
Somewhere along the line, Cameron must have revised his opinion of Preller and the Padres, perhaps when he met with the GM as well as manager Andy Green at the Winter Meetings. Also, this new position has given Cameron and his family the opportunity to live both in San Diego and Oregon.
Cameron grew up in Seattle and helped create the U.S.S. Mariner, which obviously covers the home team. But the former high school catcher actually started his writing career with Baseball Prospectus in 1999. In 2011, a diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia interfered, but Cameron beat the odds, which were very much against him, and has been in remission since then.
He combines his passion for baseball with an economics degree from UNC-Greensboro. That background should prove useful in helping to guide the mid-market franchise to a position where the team can actually compete against the likes of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Earlier this month, Cameron told Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune; “one of the things that really appeals to me about A.J. is that he didn’t mind that I’ve disagreed with him before.” Rather than working in an echo chamber, there should be a free exchange of ideas.
For a franchise that has been middling at best through the years, that kind of atmosphere will be essential to changing the basic gestalt of the organization.