That’s the only adjective-adverb I can use this morning to discuss what is going on behind the door at Petco Park as the Padres head into the Hot Stove League.
The new General Manager AJ Preller, known as a rogue operator, has been in stealth mode the last 3-weeks. Not to be seen, not to be heard, but if being talked about.
Preller has some $40M in budget space to spend on his small market team, and it is evident he will make a ‘splash’ before the off season is over. Preller appears ready to grab the headlines, not just by making trades, but also in free-agency, an area Padres leadership always viewed as being in another galaxy, something they looked at, but could never afford.
In a 3-week span, Preller has won the bidding battle, posting the highest bid to get the negotiating rights to the top left-handed pitcher in South Korea, Hwang Hyun-Kim, he of 93MPH fastball fame, with an (89-43) record in that country.
Then this past week, the pursuit of Giants 3rd baseman Pablo Sandoval reached fever pitch, reportedly offering a (7Y-$100M) contract, that exceeded the Giants offer, only to be topped by the $100M-Boston offer. Sandoval’s decision to go to Fenway Park was about money, but also about the chance to play third base early, and then become a DH once David Ortiz retires. He was being pulled in many directions; 3-World Series rings with the Giants; the history-legacy of Fenway Park-Rod Sox; and the chance to play in San Diego and stay in the NL West. Petco Park worked against San Diego and the Padres decade trend of losing probably hurt oo. It was a bit of a long-shot, but for Preller, you don’t know if you don’t try.
The Padres are meeting now in the Dominican with the agent for Cubs slugger Yasmany Tomas, being heavily pursued by the Phillies-Texas and other clubs. His signing seems like a long-shot home run for San Diego, except Preller has created a bit of a different offer. Not the max $20M-long term contract per year, but rather a 3-year deal that would allow Tomas to go back on the open market at age 27.
Just around the corner are the Winter Meetings, and Preller has been in every corner of the meeting rooms at the just concluded GM meetings, laying ground work for the December 8th meetings, talking trade with tons of people.
A rival GM told Fox Sports that Preller “was all over the place” trying to make a deal.
He tried to move a pitcher, reportedly Andrew Cashner, in a trade for Jason Heyward, whom the Braves sent on St. Louis. There is talk of an Ian Kennedy-Matt Moustakas trade with Kansas City, possibly a backup plan to get a power hitting 3rd baseman if the Sandoval free agent deal does not work.
People are calling about catcher Yasmani Grandal, outfielder Cam Maybin, plus pitcher Tyson Ross.
This is interesting. He has money, he is committed to change this roster, and he is using every means possible to take the Padres to a different level.
Hope you remember what the roster looked like on the final day of last season. Bet within two weeks, it will look very differently.
Rogue and stealth. Adjectives or adverbs? What still might happen shortly to the Padres. Wow!