Padres notes: Qualifying offers won’t deter Preller, All-MLB team, Shildt returns

A.J. Preller emptied the top shelves of his farm system to add Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Josh Hader and Brandon Drury to this year’s postseason push. Previous attempts to stoke a playoff run — the Mike Clevinger and Austin Nola trades, for instance — had also thinned out the Padres’ organizational depth, and efforts to restock the minor league ranks could take a significant hit this winter if courting players who’ve rejected $19.65 million qualifying offers culminates in a deal.


Well, the Padres joined the Dodgers, Mets, Phillies, Red Sox and Yankees as the only teams to cross the luxury-tax threshold in 2022 and thus the cost of signing such a player would be stiff:

A club’s second- and fifth-highest selections in the upcoming draft, as well as $1 million from its international bonus pool for the upcoming signing period (signing multiple qualifying-offer free agents would add the third- and sixth-highest picks to the bill).

In other words, Preller could make Chris Kemp’s dual-duty job as the amateur and international scouting director extremely difficult.

“It won’t stop us from signing a player,” Preller said. “Ultimately we’ve had some conversations with the amateur department and they understand that and they welcome the challenge.”

Kemp, of course, has experience working with constraints, with the Padres’ blowing through their bonus pool in the 2016-17 international period limiting his staff to spending more than $300,000 on any one player in two subsequent classes. One value signee during those penalty years (Euribel Angeles) helped the Padres complete the Sean Manaea trade and another (Nerwilian Cedeno) is on the cusp of becoming one of the organization’s top-10 prospects.

Late-round draft success in the Preller era includes Ty France (34th round in 2015) and David Bednar (35th round in 2016).

Major League Baseball’s amateur draft has been limited to 20 rounds since the pandemic.

“Really, the whole amateur group understands that there are players throughout a draft,” Preller said. “ … I don’t think it really changes anything on their front. I think from their end, it’s go find the best players, go be thorough in your process and I think they are ultimately excited about the big-league success and they understand this is part of it.”

All Manny

For the second time in three years, Manny Machado was selected to first-team All-MLB as a third baseman.

Machado finished second in NL MVP voting after pairing 32 homers and 102 RBIs with a .298/.366/.531 batting line as the Padres locked down a wild-card spot en route to their NLCS berth.

The Cardinals’ Nolan Arenado, Machado’s chief competition in award season at third base (Arenado won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger but finished third in MVP voting) was named to the second team.

No other Padre was selected to either team.


  • Mike Shildt, who joined the organization as a player development consultant last year and was pushed into uniform in the majors due to a number of absences throughout the year, is remaining in the organization. In the wake of minor league field coordinator Mark Conner leaving to run the Tigers’ drafts, Shildt will have “more responsibility on the minor league side,” Preller said, as well as a significant role on the big-league coaching staff.
  • Days after RHP Efrain Contreras was non-tendered and removed from the 40-man roster, he returned to the organization on a minor league deal. The 22-year-old had been added to the 40-man roster in November 2021 as he was finishing up his Tommy John rehab. He went 0-5 with a 5.74 ERA, 64 strikeouts and a 1.67 WHIP in 53 1/3 innings at high Single-A Fort Wayne in 2022. Before that, Contreras’ last full season in the minors was in the low Single-A Midwest League in 2019, when he went 6-6 with a 3.61 ERA, 121 strikeouts and a 1.18 WHIP over 109 2/3 innings.
  • Michaelene Courtis, the Padres’ director of baseball administration and a special assistant to Preller, has been hired away to serve in a prominent baseball operations administrative role with the Texas Rangers. Courtis had worked the last 12 years in the Padres’ organization.
  • Former Carlsbad High star Thomas Eshelman will coach in the Padres’ organization in 2023. The 28-year-old right-hander signed a minor league deal with the Padres last year and posted a 5.76 ERA over 114 innings split between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso.
  • Mike Nutter, president of the Padres’ high Single-A affiliate in Fort Wayne, Ind., was named Minor League Baseball’s executive of the year. Nutter has spent 22 years with the TinCaps.