Preller promoted; deal extended through '26

Former president of business ops Greupner named club's CEO, also extended

February 3rd, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- On the heels of their best season this century, with a roster built to contend for the foreseeable future, the Padres promoted and extended two of their top executives on Tuesday.

A.J. Preller, the architect behind a dizzying sequence of trades over the past five months, has been promoted to president of baseball operations, while maintaining his existing title as general manager as well. Preller, who shrewdly built one of the sport's top farm systems, then dealt various pieces to acquire , and , among others, has been extended through the 2026 season. His previous deal ran through ‘22.

The Padres also extended Erik Greupner's contract through 2026 and named him CEO, after Greupner had more or less filled that role publicly for a couple seasons. Greupner had served as president of business ops for two years and chief operating officer for two years before that.

"Erik and A.J. have earned their promotions by assembling strong business and baseball operations groups within our organization while working together toward our singular goal of winning a World Series championship," said Padres owner Peter Seidler. "Erik is a steady hand and multi-talented leader, and he has been the driving force behind our innovative business growth in a continuously evolving sports landscape. A.J. has skillfully built both a playoff-caliber Major League club and a top-tier Minor League system."

Preller's promotion to president of baseball ops doesn't signal a departure from his previous role. He's still the Padres' lead baseball decision maker.

“For all of us, it's like a vote of confidence and faith in what we're doing,” Preller said. “We're all really excited about what we're trying to do. More than anything, it just shows that Peter and the organization sees the work that our scouts and development group has done. We're excited to move on to the next stage of things.”

It's worth noting where things stand for Preller compared to where things stood a year ago. After a disappointing last-place finish in 2019, Padres ownership indicated that Preller needed to produce in '20 or his job would be in jeopardy.

Preller produced in a big way. The Padres finished with the second-best record in the National League, reaching their first postseason since 2006 and winning their first postseason series since 1998.

In the process, Preller has added droves of certifiable big league talent without sacrificing too much of his farm system and his team's future. The Padres still boast four of MLB Pipeline's top 100 overall prospects and a deep group of young talent.

Most importantly, Preller appears to have set the Padres up for long-term success. All five of his projected starting pitchers, plus the bulk of his offensive core, including and , are under team control through at least 2023.

With Tuesday’s news, Preller is now slated to be at the helm for at least six more seasons, and he expects competitive baseball in all of them.

“The last five years was really about building a foundation and getting to a point where we feel like we can every year play into October, giving us a chance to win a World Series,” Preller said. “We'd been targeting that 2020 season. ... Now, I think we're looking toward the future. We're really looking forward to the next five years to see what we can do.”

Greupner, meanwhile, has helped the Padres set sponsorship, ticketing and attendance revenue records during his time in charge. He's also been instrumental behind efforts for the Padres to increase the number of non-baseball events at Petco Park, such as concerts.

Both Greupner and Preller report directly to Seidler, who has been part of the team’s ownership group since 2012 and moved into the role of chairman earlier this offseason. Lately, Seidler has raved about the job both have done.

"I'm proud to be a part of a talented group whose main focus is to bring a championship to San Diego," Seidler said. "The foundation has been laid over the past five years, and I'm personally very excited about what the future holds for the Padres."