San Diego Padres: GM A.J. Preller’s Last Chance?

Given A.J. Preller’s reputation, he may have a hard time earning the trust of other general managers. How will this impact the San Diego Padres and how much they tolerate his antics?

Although the local media tends to gloss over the 30-day suspension of San Diego Padres’ general manager A.J. Preller, the rest of baseball appears to be much less forgiving. In fact, the former “rock star” GM is not held in high regard by many of his peers to say nothing of broadcasters and journalists.

Of the locals, only 1090 sports talk host Darren Smith echoes the complaints of critics around baseball. Regarding both Preller and now departed Mike Dee, Smith has said that they should be asking themselves why they’ve made enemies around baseball, a phenomenon new to the local team.

When the Padres hired Preller, the team was well aware of his history of skirting the rules. Major League Baseball suspended him for 30 days (reduced from an original three-month suspension) when he was with the Texas Rangers. During his first year in San Diego, an illegal workout in Aruba cost the team a fine.

Although some fans consider this kind of activity “business as usual,” the league office obviously does not. Managers get suspended from time to time; general managers do not. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement directly addresses the issue by standardizing medical record keeping.

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And this kind of dubious activity has consequences. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, one executive will not deal with Preller at all while others will be much more cautious. In the words of Fox Sports analyst Ken Rosenthal, “the Padres wanted a rogue, and they got a rogue.”

During the playoffs, the Padres rarely merit a mention, but several television and radio announcers criticized his actions. One even called him the most “dishonest” man in baseball.

Since there are only 29 other organizations in baseball, it’s inevitable that most baseball teams will have to do business with the Padres at some point. However Preller will be treated quite differently from his peers and will have to work diligently to undo his reputation to live on the edge.

Padres management as well as lead investor Peter Seidler should make it clear to Preller that his actions will be carefully scrutinized and that this is his last chance to clean up his act.

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