Padres’ A.J. Preller HAS Made Mistakes

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

JAMES SHIELDS

I have to admit I liked the addition of Shields. He said all the right things and did always take the ball every fifth day. However there was something about him that rubbed his teammates and the front office the wrong way. He was critical of his teammates with his “Accountability” sign he hung in the locker room last season. That clearly bothered some on the team and from there the situation seemed to get worse. Nobody outside the team will know exactly what the issue was with him. I do know that some people resented the fact he refused to let his infielders shift from batter to batter. That contradicts what Andy Green believes as a baseball man and that had to be at the root of many issues with Shields. He had an attitude about him you want to see from your ace pitcher, but in the same regard he was tough to handle. His results on the mound also clouded the situation as he was constantly hit hard.

In hindsight Preller should have never given Shields the richest free agent contract in franchise history. There were warning signs to his demise and the Padres ignored that fact. The Padres also allowed him to have that opt out clause in his contract which is nothing but trouble. If he fails to opt out this season the Padres will be paying $11 million of the $21 million he is owed for the 2017 and 2018 season. That would not be beneficial to the team as every penny counts and that $11 million could be allocated towards another potential player. The return from dealing Shields to the White Sox hasn’t started out well either as Erik Johnson was shelled for the Padres. Fernando Tatis Jr is the real prize though. The young teenager should develop into a decent prospect eventually. Which big name acquisition was worse; Kemp or Shields? Either way Preller learned a valuable lesson about the perceived value of veteran players. It can fluctuate easily and it is way better to sign young talent long-term while it is still blossoming (Cough, Cough– Wil Myers)

WHERE’S THE SHORTSTOP?

This has been a common issue for the San Diego Padres and still A.J. Preller has not addressed it. The long-term looks fine and dandy as the team has numerous young shortstop prospects like Luis Almanzar, Gabrial Arias, Javier Guerra and Ruddy Giron. Guerra was supposed to be close to being major league ready but he has really regressed this season in Lake Elsinore and will need some more time. The Padres have a gaggle of journeyman infielders manning the position presently. Nick Noonan, Alexi Amarista, Adam Rosales and Alexei Ramirez are not going to cut it. The Padres need help.

Luis Sardinas was recently acquired and he may be the answer, but he is a work in progress. Though he is able to play exceptional defense, he has some issues with his switch-hitting swing. The Padres, at this point are going to need Sardinas to man the position in 2017 if they don’t find anyone else. Sardinas is a work in progress but with all the before mentioned kids at least two seasons from sniffing major league playing time, someone needs to play. Preller is certainly taking his time to find a shortstop and the fan base is growing tired of seeing below average players at a position that is so vital in the game. Dragging his feet in providing a steady shortstop has definitely been a negative in his tenure.

THE HANDLING OF BUD BLACK

To me this was probably the worst move by Preller. I was not a fan of Black and his calm serene ways. I prefer my manager to have more emotion and show more fire on the field. That is just me. Black was held onto by the team with all the new talent arriving in 2015. It seemed obvious that Preller and Black did not see eye to eye, but yet the first year G.M. decided to keep him. The team struggled to find an identity as the veteran manager had to learn all his new players and inform them of what he expect as a manager. The team should have started off fresh with a new face in 2015 at the helm. There was just so much turnover that it would have been wiser for Preller to end Bud Black‘s uncertainty.

Credit: USA Today Sports
Credit: USA Today Sports

It is unheard of for a major league manager to be in their last year of a contract without an extension. The Padres mishandled that. They clearly did not see Black as the long-term answer, so why was he kept on? Why was he strung along and fired when the team was barely under the .500 mark? With no surprise the team tanked under a new interim manager (not Pat Murphy‘s fault) and the criticism of the way Bud Black was handled is real. It really is bizarre that the Padres did not fire him before the season only to do it at the midway point. The managing of personnel like that is detrimental to the future of this franchise. They must handle business in a correct manner and with dignity of they wish to take the franchise to the next level. That brings us to the next Preller issue.

COLIN REA INJURY ISSUE

I’m not quite sure what to make of this at the moment as MLB is still investigating to some degree. Colin Rea was being monitored by the team prior to the being dealt by the Padres. That the Padres cannot deny. He was purposely held to the #5 spot in the rotation after the all-star break as the team indicated he needed some additional rest. That should have been a big clue to the Marlins. They should have done their homework in that regard. The Padres still maintain that Rea was perfectly healthy at the time he was dealt. That may be the case. His elbow may have been tender, but it should have been the Marlins job to find out. To my understanding the Marlins are the ones who asked about Rea so I fail to believe the Padres were trying to pawn him off on someone.

There is a certain amount of risk involved in player’s health. Especially if you are a pitcher. The Padres did the correct thing in shipping the young fire-ball throwing right handed pitcher Luis Castillo back to the Marlins to make the situation better. Major League Baseball should be content with that. Hopefully future potential trade partners do not hold this against the Padres and A.J. Preller. A bad reputation and making deals in bad faith can really be bad for the team. The smoke seems to be clearing for the most part, but Preller needs to be cautious not to be labeled a shrew trader. He will find it hard to consummate deals with that bad reputation.

IN REVIEW

A.J. Preller has made mistakes. That is 100 percent correct. He would be the first to admit to that. However the man has quickly made adjustments after his mistakes and has not been hard-headed in admitting his errors. Well maybe not publicly, but the fact he ate salary in moving both Shields and Kemp proves that the man will easily change gears if his initial plan does not take hold. That kind of mindset is exciting. Some people will view it as neurotic, but I applaud him for his baseball philosophies.

Call me what you want but I believe in what he is doing for this franchise. I am also willing to wait a little while for years of relevance from this team. Once these waves of young talent start to reach Petco, there should be numerous years of enjoyable baseball in San Diego. I believe that and so should you. Go Padres!

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James Clark
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.

4 thoughts on “Padres’ A.J. Preller HAS Made Mistakes

  1. New to your site and enjoy it! Forgive me if this was covered earlier: Why was Kemp left in the OF while Myers stayed at 1B?? Am even more puzzled learning that Kemps’ hip (arthritic?) was not considered an issue??
    Favorite story so far-‘The Curious Case of Carter Capps’. Sounds like a Hardy Boy’s Mystery…Notice the GIF??
    Its Bethancourt striking out as an Atlanta Brave…I’m in the ‘abused fan’ camp!!!
    Being labeled an apologist for A.J. Preller a cheap shot…

    1. Thank and welcome to the site… Kemp has too much pride to play 1b. The position does take quick movements and that is something he surely lacks. Kemp is strictly a DH at this point and I was astonished the Braves think he can still play the field.

      1. The letter Kemp authored certainly confirms the baggage he’s got and its not rumor or innuendo(I wanted to believe the stuff wasn’t all true and he’d changed), he wrote it himself.
        Like you I think A.J. is going in the right direction-He’s made mistakes and will make more. But have you or any others heard or read him make ANY excuse or try to evade blame for 2015?
        A fellow fan here made the point about Pitching being very important and he’s correct-but arms and other unbelievable (Barry Zito told pitching coach Dave Righetti when they first met that he was changing his delivery-the ink not yet dry on a 5, maybe 7 year $125 million deal!!!)things that show that its an imprecise science…Speaking of delivery, it seems(to me)incredible that Tim Lincecum’s motion hasn’t resulted in ‘Tommy John for him-His ONLY trip to the DL in his 9th season…
        The point being that I’m hoping that A.J. will make pitching a priority-I’d like to enter Carter Capps as Exhibit A, your Honor…
        Looking forward to your ‘Bolt’ coverage this Season!!

  2. When Preller made the big free agent moves, I will admit I liked most of them. Shields was the one that gave me pause.. but I was fine with it.

    There are a few factors that have me believing this franchise is heading nowhere with Preller, Dee, and the rest:

    The inability the scout pitching tops the list. Preller doesn’t seem to care much about pitching, frankly.. and his moves have been awful. Look at the current rotation. It’s mess, and the farm system above A-ball is terrible. Even his draft of Quantrill that high — 23 years old coming off Tommy John who we won’t see until he’s 26… at least… If he makes it… Unwise. He could have had him later if he just had to have him. Any baseball person worth their salt knows you build the franchise with pitching. We ain’t got none in MLB , or high minors. Kids in A-ball are so high risk counting on them for the future is ridiculous. Few of them will ever see the lights of Petco. That’s a statistical fact.

    Trading an All-Star MLB Pitcher like Pomeranz for kids whose will have to beat the odds just to make the club is foolish.

    We have no chance of signing Wil Myers when his current deal is over if the team doesn’t significantly improve… but I don’t think we are going to see him resigned for $ reasons, which is why we got the 1B prospect from the Marlins, Naylor. If Myers stays, Naylor is going nowhere. If Myers goes, they have a plan at 1B who is cheap and they can say–wait for the future.

    Every financial move (even the international market move–more distant future prospects and the money isn’t that much when stretched over or penalty period) reaks not of intentional building for the future but cost cutting. Attendance at Petco is way down this year, and they need to get payroll down… And keep it down. There is simply no money for them to sign free agents or pay the prospects who do pan out.

    Their insistence on keeping Margot, Renfroe and Hedges down also demonstrates it. I can’t believe they think fans are stupid enough to believe they are doing it for chemistry. Hah! That extra 30 days playing together in the minors sure is gonna do it. And the winning percentage of the Chihuahuas is a real concern. Sure! The teams in the minors serve the goal of winning in MLB. Every other franchise will bring theirs up… Because they don’t need the extra year of club control to eek one more year out of their prospects at little cost.

    The franchise is so out of balance toward the OF and C and away from P and SS we don’t even have room for the prospects we have… While still trying to win with the likes of guys whose ERAs average north of 5 and give us 5 innings or less nearly every outing… And there is no help in sight.

    When those in AAA do come up, I guess we show Blash, Dickerson and Jankowki the door or the bench? What a mess.

    Last thing, great franchises can chew gum and walk at the same time. Where did we get there idea you can only do one a(play well in MLB or build a farm system) at a time? LA, St. Louis, New York… All seem to be able to build a farm system without making those watching their MLB team dry heave in a nightly basis. We have every right to expect ownership to provide a quality MLB product and build for the future. If they plan to put crap on the field or use MLB as AAA for the next couple of years… Cut ticket prices and win your fans other ways. I’m a Platinum full-season ticket holder and they treat us relatively poorly. They keep pulling benefits–especially with regards to reselling and exchanging tickets. They rarely say, “thank-you for paying good money to watch this clown car,” or make concessions to those who they are telling–pay US now but YOU can wait for 2020. Trust us…it’ll be awesome.

    I’m still a Padres fan…but after many years of the franchise abusing it’s fans (which you noted rightly), the burden is on ownership to win the fans back. They are heading in the wrong direction with this fan. “Believe our current multi-year rebuild plan because our first plan didn’t work,” isn’t inspiring. They need to put something of higher quality on the field while they rebuild the farm system. It’s done every day by most of the teams in MLB. If you aren’t, cut ticket prices and admit you’re Moorad revisited.

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