Baseball’s Winter Meetings come to San Diego

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SAN DIEGO — Padres General Manager A.J. Preller spoke to the media for the first time Monday since making three trades and signing one free agent.

Preller is among several general managers from across Major League Baseball attending the Winter Meetings held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.

“(We’ve) been pretty targeted on guys we wanted to line up on,” said Preller. “(When) you come to the Winter Meetings, some years we’ve been aggressive and been able to line up on trades. Some years we’ve had a lot of conversation here. … I think we just focus on being prepared and looking at things that line up for us.”

So far that has included the addition of four proven Major League players, including outfielder Tommy Pham, who appeared in 145 games for Tampa Bay where he finished with a .273 batting average.

“(He has) the ability to impact the game in multiple ways: a guy that can steal a base, hit a ball in the gap, hit a ball over the fence and get on base via walk, which is something we’ve struggled with in the last few years,” Preller said. “I think off the field, the competitive nature he has, the fire” will benefit the team.

When asked whether or not Washington Nationals pitcher and hometown product Stephen Strasburg was a target before he signed, Preller said the team remains focused on spreading out its resources, adding he’s confident in the pitchers already in the system.

“We’re always open to talking trade, free agents on the starting pitching front,” Preller said. “But honestl,y we feel really confident with the group we have and expect a lot from that group. I think a lot of the success for us will be dependent on how well we are and how well we do in developing those starters.”

The Winter Meetings continue through Thursday, leaving plenty of opportunity for Preller and company to make a splash.

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