SAN DIEGO -- A.J. Preller has been on the job as general manager of the Padres for nearly three months, assembling his staff, adding new faces, retaining others, while holding numerous meetings with the team's player-development and baseball-operations staff, shaping the vision of the front office.
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres have declined their option on right-handed pitcher Josh Johnson for 2015, but that doesn't necessarily close the door on him returning to San Diego.
The Padres held a $4 million option on Johnson, who will turn 31 in January, a stipulation in the contract that he signed last winter with the team if he made seven or fewer starts in 2014.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Mallex Smith is known for his speed, and his ability to blaze a trail on the basepaths was a key component in Surprise's 5-4 come-from-behind win over Salt River.
Thursday night's game at Salt River Fields was also the ninth in which the 20-second pitch clock -- a new initiative that Major League Baseball's Pace of Game Committee is testing during the Arizona Fall League -- was in effect. With a duration of 2 hours, 28 minutes, the average for pitch-clock games is down to 2:36.
SAN DIEGO -- Offense certainly wasn't easy to come by in 2014 for the Padres, but on three consecutive days, the team had three blissful finishes, making them a strong contender for an MLB.com GIBBY -- the Greatness In Baseball Yearly honors -- in the Walk-Off category.
Major League Baseball's A-listers will take home 2014 GIBBY trophies -- the ultimate honors of the industry's awards season -- based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.
SAN DIEGO -- Even with the changes to the Dodgers' front office, Logan White still had a place with the team as the vice president of amateur scouting and was looking forward to working with new president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.
But when Padres executive vice president and general manager A.J. Preller offered White a position with San Diego as special advisor to the GM and director of pro scouting -- and with the chance to work with his mentor, Don Welke -- White just couldn't turn it down.
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres didn't want to draw any definitive conclusions about the field modifications that were made prior to the 2013 season until they had at least three years worth of data to mull over.
But after two years, one thing has become abundantly clear -- hitters have essentially stopped talking (complaining?) about how big Petco Park plays.
SAN DIEGO -- The offseason always offers up the potential for some intrigue, and with the recent hire of new general manager A.J. Preller, Padres manager Bud Black can easily envision a scenario where this winter is anything but mundane.
And in terms of shaping the roster for 2015, Black has a suspicion that the team that ended the season against the Giants on Sunday could look dramatically different come Opening Day.
With four members of the Padres' organization powering its offense Wednesday, Surprise took a three-run lead into the late innings against Salt River. Designated hitter Jace Peterson, shortstop Trea Turner and outfielders Hunter Renfroe and Mallex Smith combined for eight hits, three runs and three RBIs.
It wasn't enough, however, as Salt River scored three runs in the eighth and ninth innings to send the game to extra innings. The game remained tied at 4 after 11 innings and, by Arizona Fall League rules, was declared a draw.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Make way for the next generation.
Several of the best prospects in baseball will collide on Saturday in the ninth annual Fall Stars Game, the yearly All-Star Game for the Arizona Fall League. This year's rosters feature 14 players on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list.
Hunter Renfroe began the fall as one of the hottest hitters in the Arizona Fall League. The Padres' No. 4 prospect placed first among National Leaguers in the Bowman Hitting Challenge and opened the season with a five-game hitting streak.
Eventually, however, Renfroe cooled off. The Surprise right fielder entered Tuesday 4-for-32 with one run and no RBIs in his last nine games.
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres have hired Logan White from the Dodgers and named him senior adviser to the general manager/pro scouting director, where he is expected to work closely with first-year general manager A.J. Preller.
White, who has a reputation of being a strong talent evaluator, presided over several highly successful Drafts that yielded Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp, Russell Martin and many others during his 13 years with the Dodgers.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Major League Baseball honored the late Tony Gwynn prior to Game 3 of the World Series between the hometown Giants and Royals on Friday at AT&T Park.
Gwynn passed away on June 16 at the age of 54 after a lengthy battle with salivary gland cancer. The three-minute tribute, part of the Stand Up To Cancer proceedings, included a highlights video from Gwynn's 20-year career, all of which was spent with the Padres. The ceremony was attended on the field by several members of the Gwynn family, including his four grandchildren and widow, Alicia, plus Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred.
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres hired Sam Geaney on Thursday as their director of player development, a role that will have him oversee the organization's Minor League system.
"It's a big challenge," Geaney said. "Over the coming months, it will be getting familiar with a lot of the quality people already there in San Diego, learning about the players, the coaches. There are staffing decisions that need to be made and just learning more about the position."
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres, who ranked last in the Major Leagues in several offensive categories this past season, relieved Phil Plantier of his hitting-coach duties on Wednesday.
Plantier, who recently completed his third season as hitting coach, was the sixth person to hold the job since Petco Park opened in 2004. He was under contract through 2015.
A baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint. So are many baseball careers.
As the Padres' 2014 season approached its conclusion last month, Rene Rivera joked about the time it took him to become an overnight success.
Bill Center is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less
Trea Turner watched last year's Fall Stars Game on MLB Network from North Carolina State, where he was still a student. The event made an impression on him, and Turner set a goal to one day play in the Arizona Fall League.
Just a year later, Turner has made it to the AFL. The shortstop is on Surprise's taxi squad, meaning he only plays twice a week -- on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Still, he is happy to have reached the prestigious league so quickly.
SAN DIEGO -- As someone who grew up in the state of Washington, was drafted by Seattle and made his big league debut with the Mariners, Bud Black didn't exactly embrace the news that he was traded from his hometown team to the Royals in March 1982.
As it turns out, it was the best thing for the then-24-year-old pitcher.
SAN DIEGO -- Randy Smith, who first joined a Major League front office in 1985, likes to joke that he has held just about every title there is to be held in the front office.
On Friday, he earned another one.
Right there with that duo in several key statistical categories was the Padres' Tyson Ross. Forget Ross's 13-14 record. Win-loss records are the most overrated statistic in baseball when it comes to measuring a pitcher's performance.
SAN DIEGO -- Last Thursday, without fanfare and far from a big league ballpark, Josh Johnson picked up a baseball and did the one thing he had waited five long months to do.
He threw it to someone.
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres recently concluded their annual Instructional League in Arizona, a three-week program aimed at individual improvement for some of the top prospects in the Minor League system.
Padres vice president of player development Randy Smith presided over the program that not only had 44 players but a handful of Minor League coaches, roving instructors and coordinators.
As the Giants bid to win their third World Series title since 2010, most of the other members of the National League West have been busy restructuring in attempt to find the mix that might bring them the kind of consistent success San Francisco has gained with its stable and tenured management structure.
While Giants general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy both stand as the longest-tenured National League employees in their respective roles, three other NL West members -- the D-backs, Padres and Rockies -- have all recently hired either a new GM or manager.
SAN DIEGO -- First-year general manager A.J. Preller will have payroll flexibility for the upcoming season, said Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler.
Fowler said in an email to MLB.com on Thursday that the team has a "placeholder amount" for payroll for the 2015 season, but the club won't be afraid to stretch that number based on moves Preller wants to make during the offseason.
SAN DIEGO -- When A.J. Preller was hired as general manager of the Padres in August, Chris Kemp was excited for him, but in no way saw it as an opportunity to leave his own post with the Rangers for a job and a chance to be reunited with Preller in San Diego.
"I never really thought about the next job because I was so immersed in the one that I had," said Kemp, who had just completed his fifth year with the Rangers as an area scout, scouring the Carolinas and also eastern Tennessee for players.
Outfielder Hunter Renfroe, the 13th overall pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, has had a busy first full professional season. He played in 129 games between Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio and represented the Padres in both the California-Carolina League All-Star Game and the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. Now, he is continuing his eventful year in the Arizona Fall League.
When San Antonio's season ended Sept. 1, Renfroe was ready for a break before the start of Fall ball. He used the time off to get away from the game and relax at home.
The list of 2015 Ford C. Frick Award finalists has been narrowed to 10, with the winner set to be announced on Dec. 10 at the Winter Meetings.
The finalists are Richie Ashburn, Billy Berroa, Rene Cardenas, Dizzy Dean, Dick Enberg, Ernie Johnson Sr., Ralph Kiner, Ned Martin, Joe Nuxhall and Jack Quinlan. The award is presented annually "for excellence in baseball broadcasting" by the Hall of Fame.
SAN DIEGO -- There was a palpable tone of lament in Jedd Gyorko's voice recently when he talked about the offensive struggles that essentially waylaid the Padres' season as far back as April.
And, no matter how good the team's pitching was, the dearth of runs made it extremely difficult to win, according to the Padres' second baseman.
SCOTTSDALE, AZ. -- Hunter Renfroe started his Arizona Fall League season with a huge jolt Friday night, when he logged the top score of any National League prospect at the Bowman Hitting Challenge. Renfroe, San Diego's No. 4 prospect on the MLB.com list, went deep four times in total.
The Bowman Hitting Challenge is the first event on the AFL schedule, and games won't start until Tuesday. Renfroe wowed the Salt River Fields audience with his round Friday, which included a shot to the power alley. The event was won by Hunter Dozier, one of Kansas City's top prospects.
SAN DIEGO -- A day after the Padres put the finishing touches on a 77-85 season, their eighth consecutive season without a postseason berth, new general manager A.J. Preller faced reporters to talk about what has transpired during his seven-plus weeks on the job.
And, more importantly, what lies ahead for the franchise.
SAN FRANCISCO -- After Sunday's regular-season finale, when Padres players scatter to various points to begin their offseason, a handful will begin only a short period of unwinding before beginning to play yet again during winter ball.
For two Padres -- catcher/first baseman Yasmani Grandal and rookie outfielder Rymer Liriano -- playing time this winter rates far more important in terms of development than it does for many of their teammates who will also play this winter.