Padres Reportedly Choose Rangers' Preller As Next GM, Beating Out Yankees' Eppler
The Padres have hired MLB Rangers Assistant GM A.J. Preller as the team's "new general manager," and are likely to make the announcement today, according to sources cited by Ken Rosenthal of FOXSPORTS.com. The Padres had been "searching for a full-time GM since firing Josh Byrnes on June 22." Preller, 36, has been with the Rangers "for 10 years, currently overseeing both player development and scouting" (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/6). In Dallas, Evan Grant noted Preller and Yankees Assistant GM Billy Eppler had been "considered the two front-runners for the job." A source said that Eppler yesterday "was told he would not get the job" (DALLASNEWS.com, 8/5). MLB.com's Corey Brock cited a source as saying that Preller in both of his interviews "wowed" Padres Exec Chair Ron Fowler, President & CEO Mike Dee and co-Owner Peter Seidler. The team "deliberated long into Tuesday evening, trying to decide" between Preller and Eppler (MLB.com, 8/5). In San Diego, Jeff Sanders notes the other finalists were Red Sox Assistant GM Mike Hazen and MLB Senior VP/Baseball Operations Kim Ng, who "also interviewed for the job when the previous regime hired Jed Hoyer" in '09. Preller would be the team's "fourth general manager in the last six years, five of them losing campaigns as the Padres struggled to make up ground while competing with much bigger spenders in the NL West." For the Padres front office -- which spent "a franchise record" $90M payroll on Opening Day this year -- the "focus is on player development and scouting, which is a highlight on Preller's resume" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/6).
ONE DOOR CLOSES, ANOTHER OPENS: The Padres yesterday announced VP & Assistant GM A.J. Hinch will be departing the organization to pursue other opportunities in baseball, effective immediately (Padres). MLB.com's Fordin & Brock noted Hinch joined the Padres as VP/Pro Scouting in September '10. When he was hired by Hoyer, the pro scouting department "had five scouts." Under Hinch the department "grew to 10." After the team dismissed Byrnes, Hinch "not only handled the day-to-day operations of the team but became the point man for trade discussions" (MLB.com, 8/5). The SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE's Sanders noted both Hinch and Senior VP Omar Minaya "declined to interview for the Padres' vacant GM job." Hinch yesterday said, "These jobs take a lot of time and energy and collaboration and I think it's best that Ron and Mike find a custom fit. I didn't see myself as a custom fit" (UTSANDIEGO.com, 8/5).