On Wednesday, A.J. Preller returned to work from his 30-day suspension. There is a lot of work ahead for the Padres and their front office as they work towards 2017.
It was one of the more bizarre situations in 2016 for the San Diego Padres. In the closing month of another losing season, the team’s general manager A.J. Preller was found to have been dishonest, failing to release medical information regarding Drew Pomeranz prior to his shipment to the Boston Red Sox.
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As a result, the former employee in the Rangers’ and Dodgers’ front offices was faced with a league warranted suspension for thirty days. On Wednesday, this chunk of time came to a close, and Preller returned to his duties.
Looking forward, Preller and the Padres have a lot of work ahead of them. The team currently has several injured players raising questions about their starting rotation. One key responsibility for Preller this winter will be solidifying the pitching staff. If he can do this through free agency, it will give the Padres a significant boost. But if not, San Diego will have to find some method to improve their staff, whether it be through a trade or minor league player development.
After this, San Diego needs to begin considering contracts which are soon expiring and pursuing players who they want to extend. This includes Wil Myers, but more importantly a veteran such as John Jay or Adam Rosales.
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Eventually, the team needs to fit together. This means that the general manager must stabilize the roster with young talent as well as veterans, pitching as well as hitting, and the future as well as the present. To make matters even more complicated, all of this must be done by Preller with an eye on the next few years, and the target date for which he realistically sees the Padres contending.
Of course, there are many more roles of a general manager. But for Preller, his primary concern must be the current roster and the difficult decisions that must be made efficiently. Most of all, the Padres’ front office has to get to work.
This is quite possibly the most critical time in this rebuilding process. The Padres clearly have promising young talent all across the board. This is evident in Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot, Ryan Schimpf, and so many more. But if the team can’t make necessary additions this offseason, they will risk allowing all of this potential to go by the wayside.
As Preller returns, he has a lot to be considering entering this winter. With the past behind him, he still has the opportunity to thrive in this enviroment. But as San Diego’s general manager begins his work, it will soon become evident that this roster needs a great deal of polishing, work that still lies ahead.