MLB Franchise Notes: Padres Ownership Bullish On Future With Extension Of GM Preller
In San Diego, Kevin Acee writes the Padres' extension of Exec VP & GM A.J. Preller is a "commitment" because ownership likes the "look and feel of the road he has paved so far." Preller has "improved the minor-league system," which today is "roundly considered one of the best three or four in baseball." If the Padres land coveted P/OF Shohei Ohtani, it is in "large part due to Preller spending so much time in Japan and empowering his lieutenants to do so as well." Just the fact the Padres are "being mentioned was unfathomable in the past" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/5).
NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY: The Yankees officially named Aaron Boone manager yesterday, and MLB Network's Joel Sherman said the fact he has never managed before on any level "worked a little to his benefit." He noted Boone has called games for ESPN the last eight years and said, "He's been allowed behind the wall of every organization of a game he broadcast." Sherman: "If he’s been thinking about managing ... he’s been listening to what he likes and doesn’t like that managers are doing in every organization. ... There is an education that he got that maybe you don’t need the other traditional one anymore” ("MLB Now," MLB Net, 12/4). MLB Net's Kevin Millar did not believe the hire is risky, saying, "He's been in the booth now. You actually know more and see more than you do on the field when you're up there" ("Intentional Talk," MLB Net, 12/4).
KEEPING IT LOW IN THE ZONE: In Michigan, Evan Woodbery notes the Tigers' payroll finished '17 at $190.4M, but "should be near the league average" next season. The '18 payroll will be about $132M, which is "not even close to the luxury tax threshold" of $197M, but still "probably more than ownership would like to pay for a team that might lose 100 games." Tigers Exec VP/Baseball Operations & GM Al Avila said, "Lowering payroll isn't really what we're trying to do. What we're trying to do is basically get younger, get leaner and then start rebuilding with the best players that we can acquire in order to put a good team on the field" (MLIVE.com, 12/5).
NOT GOING QUIETLY: In Atlanta, David O'Brien noted former Braves Int'l Scouting Supervisor Gordon Blakeley is "not going down quietly" after being forced to resign Oct. 2 amid the MLB investigation into the team. Blakeley was "hit with a one-year suspension from baseball for his part." He said that he will "meet Dec. 14 with officials from Liberty Media (Braves ownership) to discuss what high-ranking team officials knew about the rule-breaking -- including officials who’ve so far avoided MLB discipline." He said that it would be his "first meeting with Liberty Media officials since the MLB investigation began some four months ago" (AJC.com, 12/1).