AJ Preller (46), the general manager of the San Diego Padres, is nicknamed ‘Madman’. After taking office as general manager of San Diego in August 2014, he constantly recruited large players through aggressive trades and free agent contracts. He is famous for being a man of tenacity who moves recklessly when he is stuck in something.
Even last winter, General Manager Preller surprised everyone with a move that exceeded expectations. Big shot shortstop Zander Bogaerts on the free agency market after signing long-term extensions with Manny Machado (11 years, $350 million), Yu Darvish (6 years, $108 million) and Jake Cronenworth (7 years, $80 million). was a surprise acquisition for 280 million dollars in 11 years.
No one knew that Bogatz would be recruited when there were two shortstops in the team, including Kim Ha-seong, who was nominated for last year’s National League (NL) Gold Glove shortstop, and Fernando Tatis Jr., who is about to have his disciplinary action lifted. With Bogatz Gassero, Kim Ha-sung moved to second base, and Tatis Jr. moved to right field, position traffic was controlled.
However, Bogarts is sluggish this season with a batting average of .265 (110 hits in 415 bats), 11 homers, 37 RBIs, and an OPS of .727 in 109 games. The lowest performance since 2015, when he became a key player. Only in March and April, he flashed with a batting average of 3.08, 6 home runs, 13 RBIs, and an OPS of .914, but since May, he has been unable to rebound with a batting average of .25, 5 home runs, 24 RBIs, and OPS of .661.
In addition to Bogatz, Machado (99 games batting average .251, 21 homers, 66 RBIs, OPS .765), Cronenworth (113 games batting average, .227, 9 homers, 42 RBIs, OPS .693), Darvish (21 games, 8 wins, 7 losses, 4.19 ERA), etc. As the players for whom General Manager Lehler gave extended contracts did not meet expectations, the team also finished 4th in the NL West and 7th in the wild card with a record of 55 wins and 60 losses. As fall baseball became difficult due to sluggish performance compared to investment, the level of criticism towards General Manager Preller is also increasing.메이저놀이터
Severe criticism towards Preller, “the general manager who is more interested in flashy contracts”
On the 11th (Korean time), reporter Dennis Lin, who is in charge of San Diego, USA’s ‘The Athletic’, held a question-and-answer session with readers, and fans poured out their cries about the leader of Preller. One fan asked, “Why did you sign Bogatz when Tatis and Kim Ha-sung are very capable shortstops?” Couldn’t the money have been spent better this year or on a contract extension with Juan Soto?’
Another fan wrote, “San Diego has notified that tickets for the 2024 season will increase in price. The price of watching baseball in San Diego is rising, but the level is not rising.” He pointed out, “He put a burden on the club by signing an absurd contract for the amount that fans would have to pay for several years.”
In response, reporter Lin said, ‘These are appropriate questions. Concerns over the roster composition of General Manager Preller continue even now, 10 years after he took office. “He’s a tireless scout who has led the team to the playoffs twice in the past three years, but one of those came in a 60-game shortened season, and he’s in danger of being a huge disappointment for the second time in the last four years so far this year.”
“This year, San Diego has excelled in terms of defense and starting pitching, but the most anticipated offense in league history is disastrously lackluster. The bench and bullpen are struggling with a lack of depth.” It is natural to be curious about the team’s current position if it was used,’ he sympathized with the fans’ complaints.
San Diego obviously had a reason for signing Bogarts. At the time of Bogatz’s acquisition in December of last year, there was a high possibility that Machado would become a free agent by opting out after this season. Reporter Lin also said, “San Diego has loved Bogarts for years and was looking for another proven hitter to back up Machado. “I thought of Bogatz as insurance against the possibility that Machado would opt out and go to another team,” he explained.
However, during spring training last February, San Diego signed an 11-year contract extension with Machado. Both Machado and Bogatz were guaranteed an ultra-long term until the 2033 41-year-old season. Both players are now in their 30s, so it’s likely to be a vicious contract in the long run. Reporter Lin said, “It is difficult to see that the two players will not become an obstacle to the team in the future.” ‘ he pinched.
Shining Kim Ha-seong in the sluggishness of high-paid stars “One of the best contracts for Freller”
Although the manager of Preller, who has been on the defensive, the recruitment of Kim Ha-seong in January 2021 for a 4+1 year guarantee of $28 million and a maximum of $39 million is considered a success. Even at that time, there were concerns about ‘duplicate power’ by recruiting Kim Ha-seong in a situation where the infield team was set up, including shortstop Tatis, second baseman Cronenworth, and third baseman Machado.
In his first year, while playing as a backup, the question of Kim Ha-sung’s utilization could not be removed. However, Kim Ha-seong, who established himself as the starting shortstop last year while Tatis was away due to injury and banned substance disciplinary action, moved to second base this year and his hitting potential exploded. In 110 games this season, he recorded a batting average of .835 with 15 homers, 41 RBIs and 27 stolen bases (106 hits in 368 at-bats) in 110 games, emerging as an irreplaceable player in the airlifting field.
Reporter Lin said, ‘Kim Ha-seong is doing very well by any standard. Despite moving to a non-shortstop position this year, he ranks first among all infielders in terms of DRS (Defensive Runs Saved). He evaluated that he ranks second in wRC+ (adjusted scoring production) among full-time second basemen after Luis Araez (Miami), who is likely to be the first in NL batting.
Next, reporter Lin said, “In San Diego, where several star players are having a sluggish season, Kim Ha-seong must be the most valuable player with the most pleasant surprise.” The contract was praised as one of the best works of Director Preller. In the midst of repeated failures, the Kim Ha-seong contract is recognized as the achievement of General Manager Preller.