President of Baseball Operations and General Manager
A.J. Preller was promoted to his current position of President of Baseball Operations and General Manager in February 2021. He originally joined the Padres as executive vice president/general manager on August 6, 2014. Under his leadership, the Padres ended a 14-year postseason drought in 2020 with a 37-23 (.617 ) regular season record, their best winning percentage in club history. After finishing the season with the second-best record in the National League, the Padres defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Wild Card Series, their first postseason series win since 1998 and the first postseason series win at Petco Park.
Over his tenure, Preller has overseen the acquisition of a significant level of talent through various channels. He signed marquee free agents, including Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer and Drew Pomeranz. Across multiple years, he executed trades netting a talent haul of Fernando Tatis Jr., Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Mike Clevinger, Wil Myers, Trent Grisham, Chris Paddack, Tommy Pham, Joe Musgrove, Josh Naylor, Austin Nola and Jake Cronenworth. Along with the professional scouting group, Preller mined the waiver wire and minor league free agency to find key bullpen pieces in Kirby Yates, Brad Hand and Craig Stammen. Under his direction, the amateur scouting department has drafted several consensus top prospects, including MacKenzie Gore, C.J. Abrams, Luis Campusano, Ryan Weathers, Cal Quantrill, Cole Wilcox, Hudson Head and Robert Hassell, while the international scouting staff signed Adrian Morejon, Luis Patino, Gabriel Arias, Michel Baez, Jorge Ona, Reginald Preciado, Ismael Mena and Tucupita Marcano.
While constructing a winning Major League roster, Preller has also strengthened and preserved the club’s farm system, earning a Top 3 ranking in each of the last three seasons (2019-21). The Padres enter the 2021 season with the most Top 100 prospects (7) according to Baseball America and made history in 2019 with a record-breaking 10 players on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list (574 points).
Prior to his time in San Diego, Preller served as assistant general manager of the Texas Rangers, overseeing the player development and scouting departments and serving as a key advisor on all player acquisitions. Over 10 years in Texas, Preller was integral to the Rangers’ efforts to upgrade the talent level throughout the system, playing an instrumental role in the club’s consecutive World Series appearances in 2010-11, as well as in the construction and organization of the Rangers’ development program in the Dominican Republic. From 2010-13, he served as a senior director of player personnel, overseeing professional, international and amateur scouting.
Before joining the Rangers, Preller spent three years in the baseball operations department of the Los Angeles Dodgers, working with the professional, amateur and international scouting departments. He also was heavily involved in salary arbitration work for the Dodgers.
A native of Huntington Station, N.Y., Preller graduated Summa Cum Laude from Cornell University in 1999. He began his baseball career with an internship for the Philadelphia Phillies before taking a position with the Arizona Fall League where he worked under Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, whom he later joined at Major League Baseball for two years, aiding Robinson in several areas and working closely with the Labor Relations Department on salary arbitration issues.