Who does A.J. Preller think he is? Making deals at a pace like he’s Trader Jack McKeon

Posted: 12/19/2014 in baseball
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Who does A.J. Preller think he is? The new “Trader Jack?”

The new general manager of the San Diego Padres just keeps on wheeling and dealing and his trades are transforming a club that badly needed a makeover.

It’s gone from no hope, no offense and really, really boring baseball to renewed hope, tons of offensive bats and actually able to score runs.

Yeah, touching home plate could again become a thing.

Preller has acquired a new whole new outfield by getting Matt Kemp from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Justin Upton from the Atlanta Braves and Wil Myers from the Tampa Bay Rays. He also landed catcher Derek Norris from the Oakland Athletics and third baseman Will Middlebrooks from the Boston Red Sox.

He accomplished this maneuvering without having to trade any of his top three starting pitchers in Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy.

It’s pretty amazing stuff for a club that has been operating on the cheap during the entire Petco Park era.

Preller also hasn’t dealt any of his top prospects though you never know when one of those mid-range prospects will turn into Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (yep, the Padres dealt him as a minor leaguer to get journeyman outfielder Ryan Ludwick in 2010).

But back to Preller’s amazing work.

The big difference is the 37-year-old Preller doesn’t have any limits on him. He wouldn’t have accepted the GM job if he couldn’t take the steps necessary to revamp a putrid offensive roster.

Suddenly, the Padres are spending money and able to land high-priced players like Kemp and Upton. Just as quickly, fans are excited and people nationally are talking about the Padres.

When is the last time that has happened in December?

And we all know how seldom the Padres create a buzz in October.

Only time will tell whether Preller’s inaugural flurry of trades produces a memorable season or the typical San Diego campaign of more losses than wins with nobody caring or watching once the Chargers begin their season.

But for now, he is showing signs of having the dealing ability of “Trader Jack” McKeon, the general manager who made trade after trade and signed key free agents to get the Padres into the World Series for the first time in 1984.

They have been back only one other time, which is pretty sad if you think about. But the first step is moving away from last season’s terrible club and being competitive in the National League West.

Preller seems to have already taken five steps to improve the club’s fortunes – with plenty of time in the offseason to make more moves.

Wow, feels weird to hear optimism about the Padres in December. Next step: Not having it fade away in April.

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