A.J. Preller Addresses Major Padres Topics at GM Meetings

From rumors around Eric Hosmer to the recent performance of MacKenzie Gore, Preller shared his thoughts on crucial players and issues within his club.

On Wednesday Padres President of Baseball Operations A.J. Preller spent more than a half hour talking with reporters about his club at MLB's GM Meetings in Carlsbad.

Here's some of what Preller had to say about his roster and players that could factor heavily into the team's near future.

On trade rumors surrounding first baseman Eric Hosmer: "Eric brings a lot to our team, we knew that when we signed him... We see a championship team in San Diego with Eric as the first baseman. We'll get a chance to sit down with everybody Eric included in the coming weeks and see if he shares that view... We looked at all different ways to make the team better. We did have conversations about first base and how to do that and ultimately made the decision at the deadline last year that our best team and the best situation for our organization going forward was with Eric as our first baseman. Nothing's changed the last couple months from my standpoint from that. We'll see where the offseason takes us and what the next couple weeks looks like."

How aggressive Preller feels he needs to be in order to get the Padres back on track: "This isn't about just flipping the roster or anything like that. We feel like we have the core here of a team that can win a World Series and it's probably going to be like adding the right piece or two to that talented core."

His assessment of MacKenzie Gore's performance during the Arizona Fall League: "He's back throwing the ball well from a stuff standpoint. Velocity and quality of his pitches I think that was a big positive for us and we saw that both last summer and into the Minor League season when he got a chance to go back out in the system. But he'll be the first to tell you he's got to tighten things up on a few things from a command standpoint."

Whether they believe Dinelson Lamet can return to a starting role: "He's a guy that when healthy he's one of the best starters in the league. Our focus again will just be from a quality standpoint getting him to that level. Then we'll be able to at least have that conversation in Spring Training."

Where Mike Clevinger is in his rehab from a second Tommy John procedure: "He's in great shape, he's on schedule from a throwing standpoint. We expect him to be ready for Spring Training. He's had a really good rehab process."

On Yu Darvish's health after battling hip and lower back ailments in the second half of the season: "Yu is a very hard worker. He's very smart and diligent about his body and his preparation and that'll be the big part of the focus for the next few months just making sure he comes into Spring Training ready to pitch a full season. Some of those tweaks that we saw in the second half that affected his performance make sure that we can put himself in the best position possible and he's ready to go all year."

The future of free agent outfielder Tommy Pham: "Tommy is a guy we would like to see back in the fold... He's somebody that looks himself in the mirror and felt like he didn't quite get it done this year. It definitely wasn't for a lack of effort. He put a ton of time and effort into it. His body was banged up a little bit. I think we'll have those conversations over the next couple weeks of whether or not he'll come back as a Padre next year."

The team's reaction to the hire of manager Bob Melvin: "The guys are excited. Probably the biggest thing is they speak to other players in the league that have played for Bob, that have played against Bob's teams. I think everybody they see what he brings to the table. He's had a chance to talk to a lot of guys on the roster. I think the biggest thing, guys are excited."

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