LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- It's been a notably quiet offseason for general manager A.J. Preller and the Padres. Expect that to change soon, as San Diego's contingent has arrived here for the 2017 Winter Meetings.Preller and Co. enter this week's meetings, which run through Thursday, with two glaring needs
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- It's been a notably quiet offseason for general manager A.J. Preller and the Padres. Expect that to change soon, as San Diego's contingent has arrived here for the 2017 Winter Meetings.
Preller and Co. enter this week's meetings, which run through Thursday, with two glaring needs on the roster: shortstop and starting pitching. In the rotation, it's likely the Padres will look to add multiple arms before the start of camp.
"We've had discussions on the trade market for pitching -- both starters and relievers -- and on the free-agent market," Preller said. "That's been active, so we'll see how things play out this week. That's definitely an area of focus for us."
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MLB.com will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2017 Winter Meetings, so make sure to check padres.com throughout the week for the latest updates. Manager Andy Green will meet with media on Wednesday at 11 a.m. PT. The Meetings conclude Thursday morning with the Rule 5 Draft -- a specialty of Preller's over the past two years.
Preller hasn't been shy when it comes to wheeling and dealing at the Winter Meetings. In his first year as GM in 2014, he laid the foundation for the Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and William Myers deals. Two years ago, he finalized the Thomas Pomeranz trade and sent Jedd Gyorko to St. Louis. And last year, he swung two trades on the morning of the Rule 5 Draft, giving the Padres each of the top three selections.
With those picks, San Diego drafted Miguel Diaz, Luis Torrens and Allen Cordoba. All three lasted the duration of the season on the big league roster, making the Padres the first team since at least 2000 (and possibly ever) to keep three Rule 5 picks for an entire season. Expect Preller's front office to be busy on the Rule 5 front once again.
This year, part of Preller's focus will be on acquiring a shortstop. And he'll have to weigh the benefits of the free-agent and trade markets. The emergence of No. 4 prospect Fernando Tatis Jr., presumably the club's shortstop of the future, could play a factor in the Padres' decision making.
"You need to know what's coming in the pipeline, and you want to see how you can best utilize your resources," Preller said. "So you examine the trade market, get a sense of, 'This fills a hole, but is it worth what it's going to take to make a deal?' You weigh that out with the free-agent market. ... Those are the discussions we have daily."
The Padres have questions -- Who should play shortstop next season? Where should San Diego look to acquire pitching? How will Green sort out the logjams at second and third base? -- and Preller hopes to find some answers this week.
Keep the discussion going in the comments section below. And stay tuned. Preller is no stranger to making a mid-December splash.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.