The A.J. Preller Era: A Look at All 22 Trades So Far

When the San Diego Padres hired A.J. Preller in August 2014, the team knew he would make changes. The ownership group knew that he would likely bring his own philosophy. With that thought process, he would bring in players that fit the mold that the young general manager is trying to produce. Deals would be made as the team attempted to build a winning tradition.

He wasted no time in altering the roster. After the 2014 season was complete, the Padres would overhaul both their major-league and minor-league rosters. For seasons on end, the Padres’ farm system had failed to consistently cultivate talent and obviously something needed to be addressed in the scouting and development department.

Don Welke and Logan White bring a track record of success. White helped build a Dodgers juggernaut while Welke’s most recent team, the Texas Rangers, currently has one of the deepest farm systems in baseball. These two will help improve the minor league system for the team. With a steady influx of talent arriving for the Padres, it will only make things easier at the major-league level.

In acquiring established veterans, Preller had to move many of the Padres’ top prospects. To the dismay of the fan base, the minor-league system was depleted in an attempt to boost the major-league roster. It all started on November 11, 2014, with a minor trade between the Padres and Royals. Twenty-two trades later, we are at this point in the Padres construction. Let’s take a look at each trade and see how the players the Padres dealt are doing compared to what they received in return.

11-20-14  The San Diego Padres send Reymond Fuentes to the Kansas City Royals for Kyle Bartsch

This first trade of the A.J. Preller era is not talked about very much. The speedy outfielder, Fuentes, was part of the package the Padres received from the Boston Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez deal. He is the cousin of Carlos Beltran, and was supposed to be a decent prospect. The Padres shipped him off to Kansas City, where he is currently on the major-league roster. Bartsch, on the other hand, has struggled since becoming a Padre and is currently in Double-A San Antonio. Bartsch was hit hard last year in Lake Elsinore, where he recorded a 4.60 ERA in 52 games for the Storm. He is still 25 and a left-handed thrower, so he could still have value for the team eventually.

Fuentes has always had decent numbers, and I was surprised the team decided to move on from him. As a Royals minor leaguer last season, Fuentes recorded a .310/.364/.432 slash line with nine homers and 29 stolen bases. He is 25 and could be a decent major-league outfielder with the right opportunity. For the Royals so far this season, Fuentes is 5-for-21 (.238) and getting sporadic playing time. This deal looks bad right now for the Padres, but only time will truly tell.

12-18-14  The San Diego Padres send Yasmani Grandal, Joe Wieland, and Zach Eflin to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Matt Kemp and Tim Federowicz

This deal had been rumored for weeks, and on December 18 it finally came to fruition. The Padres would acquire the Dodgers’ most well-known offensive player in a deal that seemed impossible to complete. There were issues with Kemp’s hips after a physical, but the two teams agreed on the deal anyway. This deal is complicated. Clearly the Padres got the best player in the deal (Kemp), but they also are responsible for most of his hefty contract.

Kemp had a decent year for the Padres last year, driving in 100 runs and hitting for the team’s first cycle in franchise history. Federowicz was hurt in the spring and designated for assignment by the middle of the season. The Dodgers acquired Eflin from the Friars and immediately flipped him to the Phillies for Jimmy Rollins. Eflin had a decent year last season with the Phillies’ Double-A team. He went 8-6 in 23 starts with a 3.69 ERA. This season for the Phils’ Triple-A team he is 2-0 after three starts with a 2.70 ERA. He could be up with the team at some point this season.

Yasmani Grandal played in 115 games last season for the Dodgers. He hit .234 with 16 homers and 47 runs driven in. He was banged up some last season and started this season with an injury as well. In his first 25 at-bats this season in L.A. he is hitting .320. The catcher has great pitch framing and receiving skills that make his value more than what he provides with the bat. Joe Wieland bounced back and forth between the Dodgers and their Triple-A team last year. The Dodgers traded him in January to the Seattle Mariners where he has recorded a 15.75 ERA in his first three starts for their Triple-A team.

12-18-14  The San Diego Padres send Jesse Hahn and R.J. Alvarez to the Oakland Athletics for Derek Norris and Seth Streich

The Padres had a need at catcher since they dealt Yasmani Grandal to the Dodgers. It did not take Preller very long as he plucked Derek Norris away from the Oakland Athletics for two young pitchers. Alvarez and Hahn both were major-league-ready pitchers, so the Padres paid a decent asking price for Norris.

In his first year in San Diego, Norris immediately became a fan favorite for his tough play and hard-nosed attitude. He had defensive questions when he first joined the team, but he quickly hushed all critics with a productive year defensively. Seth Streich was also acquired with Norris, but the pitcher has had arm issues since the deal.

Hahn had a nice year for the A’s last season, but injury concerns once again showed up for him. He has had a long history of arm troubles, so it’s no surprise the same issues again hit Hahn in 2015. While he was in there for the A’s, he was productive, going 6-6 with a 3.35 ERA in 96 innings. After a slow start to the spring, a healthy Hahn was optioned to Triple-A to start the season. He has gone 0-1 so far with a 2.04 ERA in four starts and it seems he could get a call-up from the A’s this week. R.J. Alvarez had an inconsistent year last year between Oakland and their Triple-A team. This season he is currently shelved after having elbow surgery this March. He will likely not be available until the end of the year at the earliest.

One Response

  1. ballybunion

    Well, you could have mentioned Justin Upton turned into an extra pick in the June draft, as did Ian Kennedy. With their protected #8, and all the free agent signings moving up their two supplementary picks to #23 and #24, the Padres now have, in effect, three first round picks in a very rich draft, especially in quick-developing college pitchers.

    You also could have mentioned that Guerra looks like a better shortstop prospect than Trea Turner, and that Pomeranz is turning that trade into a steal. When you look at the trades as a group, you can see some of Preller’s strategy of sometimes taking a step back to set up two steps forward. Even the players acquired in so-so trades might be involved in the next moves.


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