The San Diego Padres have reportedly hired A.J. Preller to be their next general manager, ending a six-week search for a replacement following the firing of Josh Byrnes. 

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has the news: 

Preller and New York Yankees executive Billy Eppler established themselves as front-runners for the job, while the extensive search also included Boston Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen and MLB senior vice president for baseball operations Kim Ng.

In the end, though, San Diego elected to go with Preller, 36, who joined the Texas Rangers in 2004 and was promoted to assistant GM in November. He oversaw the international, professional and amateur scouting departments, playing a vital role in putting together one of the best farm systems in baseball. 

Texas’ minor-league pipeline is currently ranked No. 9 in the majors, according to Baseball Prospectus, but it was as high as No. 2 a year ago before losing prospects like Jurickson Profar and Martin Perez to the Show.

While the Rangers have been terrible in 2014, there’s no questioning the level of talent—Joey Gallo and Jorge Alfaro made Baseball America‘s midseason top-50 prospect list—Preller has helped accrue. Over the last four seasons, the Rangers have three postseason appearances and a pair of trips to the World Series, and Preller has been a major part of that. 

General manager Jon Daniels spoke highly of his former college roommate following the most recent promotion, via’s T.R. Sullivan:

A.J. and Mike (Daly) have been instrumental in this franchise’s success over the last several years, especially when it has come to scouting and bringing quality players into the organization. These promotions to more responsibilities on the player-development side are well-deserved and will make us a stronger organization, further strengthening the bonds between player development and scouting, as well as the Major and Minor Leagues.

The Pioneer Press‘ Mike Berardino and Baseball America‘s JJ Cooper also praised the Padres’ new hire:

It’s unknown how Preller will handle free-agent negotiations, trade talks and other intricacies of the job, but he’s young and he has already proved to be a tremendous judge of talent. 

That’s exactly what the Padres, who are currently 51-61 and have just one winning season since 2008, are looking for. They need to stockpile talent, and they need to do it without overspending in the winter. Preller, especially thanks to his international ties, can help do that. 

As for the Rangers, this is a significant blow to their front office. The current rebuilding project just got considerably more difficult. 

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