Grading A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres front office at the midway point

Aug 23, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller speak to the media before the game against the Cleveland Guardians at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 23, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller speak to the media before the game against the Cleveland Guardians at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /
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A.J. Preller.  Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
A.J. Preller.  Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports /

Overall

The Padres were supposed to win and they haven’t. In baseball, that’s pretty much a self-incriminating statement.

Preller pushed hard again this past offseason on free agency. He signed, re-signed or extended 18 players … that’s more than four times as many as newly came to the Padres via trades and the farm system combined. And for all that signing activity, he got a negative WAA from the collection.

Here’s the first-half report card on the Preller front office. Note that grades for players departing the organization are based on the reverse of those players’ WAAs with their new teams.

Mode                    WAA                   Grade

Acquired              +0.4                       C

Traded                  +1.2                       D

Signed                  -1.1                       D

FA Lost                 -3.7                       A

Rookies                -0.4                       C

Overall                 +1.4                      B

Preller has made 32 personnel moves since the end of 2022 involving a player with 2023 major league experience. Only 13 of those moves favored Preller and the San Diego Padres; 16 went against him and three were neutral.

As with a few other front offices we’ve looked at, the problem for Preller is that his positive score is inflated by the players he got rid of, not the ones he brought in. Preller’s greatest strength this year has been knowing which non-performers to dump.

Coincidentally, he has also paid a lot of money to bring in a lot of non-performers, so that +1.4 grade is deceivingly inconsequential. All it really says about the work of Preller is that as bad as it’s been, it could have been a lot worse.

Next. Staying in the division and grading the Diamondbacks. dark