Padres president Mike Dee denies recent whispers that GM A.J. Preller’s job is in danger after the team’s failed attempt at contention last season, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. “Not true,” says Dee. “We have more confidence and excitement about him as GM than when we hired him in 2014. … He’s here for the long haul.” Dee says one reason the team hired Preller was because of his background in acquiring amateur talent, and it will take awhile for his efforts in that area to bear fruit. Notably, the organization is already rumored to have committed almost $30MM to talent that will become available in next summer’s Latin American amateur market — a huge figure, particularly given the penalties that will be involved. Here’s more on the Padres.
- Sherman also has some fun details of the Padres’ activity — or lack thereof — on the trade market last summer. They were reportedly offered only outfielder Junior Lake from the Cubs in return for Ian Kennedy. The Mets offered pitching prospect Michael Fulmer (later the key to the Yoenis Cespedes deal) for Justin Upton, but the Padres were concerned about Fulmer’s long-term viability as a starter. The Yankees, meanwhile, offered infield prospect Jorge Mateo for Craig Kimbrel (who, of course, later netted a considerable return from the Red Sox). They let Kennedy and Upton walk, but will receive compensation picks for them.
- After trading Nick Vincent to the Mariners, Preller says he doesn’t think the team will make any more significant deals before the start of the season, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. “I don’t really think so,” says Preller. “I think at this point, our focus has been more on some of the position battles, the competitions to round the club out. But you never want to say no.” As Lin notes, the team acquired Kimbrel just as the season started last year, but it doesn’t appear they plan on something like that happening again. Preller adds that the team is happy with Wil Myers at first base, seemingly in response to a question about whether they might pursue someone like James Loney (who’s now in limbo after being told he won’t make the Rays’ Opening Day roster) to platoon with him.
- Former phenom Brandon Wood — who belted a remarkable 43 home runs as a 20-year-old for Class A+ Rancho Cucamonga in 2005 but never made an impact in the Majors — is now 31 and preparing for his first season as a minor-league manager, Ted Berg of USA Today writes. Before the 2006 season, Baseball America rated Wood (then with the Angels) the third-best prospect in the game. Now he’s set to manage the short-season Tri-City Dust Devils. Wood says anxiety was his undoing as a player, recalling that he at times struggled to control his body because he wasn’t breathing enough.
- The Padres are expected to be keenly interested in free agent starter Tim Lincecum, Jon Heyman writes (Twitter links). Lincecum is rumored to be throwing 90 MPH off flat ground, Heyman reports, but he hasn’t yet had a showcase (even though there has been talk of a showcase for months now), saying he wants to be “perfect” for it. Lincecum is making his way back from hip surgery.