By Nicholas Burmeister (AKA @PadresHaiku)
Preller has to go. I like what he did. He’s massaging the rules in a game that rewards cheating. It was gamesmanship, crafty, and inexcusable and I’m fine with it, but he has to go. This is different from PEDs, and not exactly like sign stealing. It’s a sort of a combination of the two; misdirecting the other team while clouding actual physical ability. Other front offices are up in arms that another GM would do this, and that they hadn’t thought of it first.
While I like the scoundrel-ness of the tactic, he has to go. He’s going to be a baseball pariah, and while I like the idea of a villain GM, I also like having one that can make deals with the other teams. The problem is AJ is untouchable even if he’s the best choice for the job. He’s like Eddie Furlong and the Padres are Terminator III. Eddie Furlong played John Connor in Terminator II, but when it came time to film Terminator III no one would insure Eddie to do the film because he had a drug problem. He was John Conner, he was the best choice, but because of his bad decisions we ended up with Nick Stahl protecting us from Skynet. Nick. Stahl.
There is going to be fallout no matter what. If the team keeps him on he can continue to develop the minor league system and the team can continue with AJ’s vision of the rebuild. However that means carrying a persona non grata in the most important position on the team. If the Padres fire him, they lose one of the shrewdest (if not crooked) minds in the game. This probably sets the team back another couple years. But there is upside to letting him go. First, owners will look proactive. Dismissing their darling GM will assuage most of the criticism getting tossed their way. It might also mean the team won’t lose any draft picks, international signings, or have any other trades undone by the MLB. Keeping the players AJ has acquired is ultimately the best thing for the team even if AJ leaves/is forced out.
That being said, AJ’s real value was with the international draft- this past year. The Padres blew their wad this year, and they can’t spend big like this for a little bit. So if AJ’s value was with the draft that already happened-a draft that the team cannot spend very much money on next year-they should move. He has little value to the team. It’s like having a fancy key to a car you don’t own. He served his purpose and now it’s time to set him free.
In baseball the future is always filled with danger. A top pitching prospect can blow out an elbow. A superstar shortstop can end up in prison. The team needs a strong leader to guide it through the next few perilous years. The team needs their John Conner. If the Padres can’t have Furlong to help them fight the Dodgers, Giants, or Skynet, I just hope they do better than Nick effing Stahl.
Follow Nick Burmeister on Twitter: @PadresHaiku