|A. J. Preller|
|San Diego Padres|
|President of Baseball Operations and General Manager|
|Born: June 20, 1977|
New York, New York, U.S.
A. J. Preller (born June 20, 1977) is the president of baseball operations and general manager of the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball (MLB). He was hired by the Padres on August 5, 2014 while serving as the assistant GM for the Texas Rangers, overseeing the player development and scouting departments and serving as a key advisor on all player acquisitions. At the time, he was 36 years old.
Preller was born in 1977 to parents Arthur and Joan. He grew up on Long Island, New York, and went to school in South Huntington, New York, where in 1995 he graduated from Walt Whitman High School. He attended Cornell University, where he met Jon Daniels, and graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. degree in 1999. After graduation, he served as an intern with the Philadelphia Phillies before joining the front office of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and also worked for Major League Baseball.
Front office career
In 2004, Preller was hired as Director of International and Professional Scouting by the Texas Rangers. While at Cornell, he was a fraternity brother of Texas Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels. Preller reached the position of Assistant GM, before being hired by the San Diego Padres.
San Diego Padres
On August 6, 2014, the Padres announced the hiring of Preller as their new general manager. His hiring concluded a six-week process that commenced on June 22 after San Diego dismissed Josh Byrnes following a two and a half years tenure. The Padres also interviewed Kim Ng, Billy Eppler, and Mike Hazen. His official title is the President of Baseball Operations and the General Manager of the Padres. Preller reportedly agreed to a five-year deal upon joining the Padres organization. He made numerous transactions over the 2014-2015 offseason in what came to be known as "Prellerpalooza." He traded Yasmani Grandal to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Matt Kemp and Tim Federowicz. He partook in a three team trade for Wil Myers and Ryan Hanigan, surrendering five players (including Trea Turner) in the process. He traded prospects to the Braves for Justin Upton. He signed James Shields to a 4-year contract. He made several smaller moves as well, as he launched the Padres into playoff talks before the season began. He concluded the offseason by trading for Braves closer Craig Kimbrel just hours before the season opened on April 5.
Despite his off-season trades, the Padres in June 2015 were still underperforming. This was one of many factors that led to the firing of manager, Bud Black, on June 15, 2015.
On December 3, 2017, Preller was given a 3-year extension to remain as the Padres general manager.
In 2018, MLB Pipeline ranked the Padres farm system No. 1 with seven prospects among their top 100 prospects: Fernando Tatís Jr. (No. 8), MacKenzie Gore (No. 19), Luis Urías (No. 36), Cal Quantrill (No. 40), Michel Báez (No. 42), Adrian Morejón (No. 50), and Anderson Espinoza (No. 89).
On February 19, 2018, the Padres signed Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million contract, the largest in club history at the time. On February 21, 2019, the Padres signed Manny Machado to a 10-year, $300 million contract, at the time the biggest free-agent contract in the history of American sports.
In 2020, the Padres went 37–23, finishing with a winning record for the first time since 2010. They went on to the playoffs, marking their first postseason appearance since 2006 and defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2020 National League Wild Card Series, their first postseason series win since the 1998 NLCS.
On February 2, 2021, the Padres extended Preller through the 2026 season and promoted him to president of baseball operations. On February 17, the Padres extended Tatís Jr. to a 14-year, $340 million contract, at the time the third-biggest deal in MLB history.
- "Seven Things to Know About New Padres GM A.J. Preller". NBC San Diego. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
- Wood, Matthew (August 6, 2014). "Seven Things to Know About New Padres GM A.J. Preller". NBC San Diego. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
- "Padres turn to A.J. Preller as GM". ESPN. August 7, 2014. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
- Herzog, Brad (July–August 2011). "Urban Cowboys". Cornell Alumni Magazine. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
- "Meet Hall of Fame Inductee AJ Preller". South Huntington Schools District. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
- "Meet Hall of Fame Inductee AJ Preller". South Huntington School. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
- Grant, Evan (August 5, 2014). "San Diego Padres hire Rangers' A.J. Preller as General Manager". Dallas News. Archived from the original on 2014-08-08. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
- Heyman, John (August 6, 2014). "A.J. Preller accepts five-year deal to become Padres GM". CBS Sports. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
- Todd, Jeff. "Padres general manager A.J. Preller suspended 30 days". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
- Cassavell, AJ (December 3, 2017). "Padres give GM A.J. Preller 3-year extension". MLB. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
- Center, Bill (March 2, 2018). "Padres Ranked №1 Minor League System by MLB Pipeline". FriarWire. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
- "Padres Sign First Baseman Eric Hosmer to Eight-Year Contract". MLB. February 19, 2018. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
- "Padres Sign Infielder Manny Machado to 10-Year Contract". MLB. February 21, 2019. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
- Acee, Kevin (February 2, 2021). "Padres promote, extend contracts of top executives Greupner, Preller". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
- Passan, Jeff (February 17, 2021). "Sources: San Diego Padres, Fernando Tatis Jr. agree on 14-year, $340 million deal". ESPN. Retrieved October 3, 2021.