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December 10, 2019

A.J. Preller

San Diego, California

Q. You satisfied with the terms of the original Tommy Pham trade?
A.J. PRELLER: Yeah, just we talked about getting to completion today on the Tommy Pham deal. A chance to talk to the Rays and ultimately moving forward and excited to have Tommy and Jake officially with us and seeing those guys as Padres.

Q. In your contention, there's still a lot of questions in the outfield. How are you going to address that?
A.J. PRELLER: Yeah, I think from our standpoint, we've looked at wanting to change the mix a little bit overall with the group. I think kind of changing the mix of some of the at-bats we had, and I think with Pham, we'll have that. I think competition is going to be a good thing. I think there are guys that are in the mix for us that we think really highly of. Again, when you have depth and you have options, I think it creates a really good situation. Still not finished here with the off-season, so we'll see how things play out.

I think we feel like from a handedness standpoint, we've got right-handed bats, we've got some left-handed options, we've got power options, guys that can get on the base, guys that can play in the middle of the field in centerfield. So I think overall, we're in a better spot than we were to start the off-season, but understanding we've still got some time left here in the off-season to see how it's going to play out next year.

Q. Where does Wil Myers fit into the mix?
A.J. PRELLER: Wil is right in the middle of it. We talked to Wil -- again, with the deals -- especially with Hunter being dealt, with Hunter and Franmil at the All-Star break last year, right-hand power. Wil provides that. He's a very good athlete. We all know what Wil can do upside-wise. Again, had a few conversations already with Wil here this off-season. Jayce has talked to Wil. It's Wil's birthday today. The expectation for us is he's going to come in and play. He knows he's capable of playing good baseball, and he's capable of doing a lot better than he saw last year, and we expect that from him going forward and expect that from him in the 2020 season, and we're excited.

Q. Is there a chance that Wil Myers, speaking of which, could spend more time at first base?
A.J. PRELLER: Yeah, I think we'll kind of see how things shake out as we get to the end of the off-season and more so when we get into Spring Training. With Wil, the versatility he provides, it's a nice thing obviously because he can play the infield and go out and play the outfield. I think we're going into the next few months looking at him as an outfielder.

Again, when we get to Spring Training, we'll sit down with the coaches and with Jayce, and we're going to want the best 25, 26-man roster we can put together. And every single night looking at the best combination of guys. Wil gives us some versatility, but our conversations with Wil are go out and win an everyday job in the outfield go out and be the player we've seen at different points in his career over the last six or seven years.

Q. Where have you gotten with Kirby Yates talks?
A.J. PRELLER: In terms of?

Q. Extension.
A.J. PRELLER: Yeah, Kirby was here today, and honestly, we've had a few conversations with Kirby going into the off-season, and I think most of it has just been focused on getting ready for this coming season. I think we've told him we're going to focus on improving our club, improving our bullpen. And then when we get through the next few weeks and we have a better sense of where we're at payroll-wise, where we're at roster-wise, we'll start talking to Kirby about his situation for next year.

I think it's a really cool honor for Kirby today. I think we were sitting there and talking about the best and the best -- when you're the best in the world at what you do, and you talk about him and Josh Hader as two of the best guys, he's earned that. I think from our standpoint we'll start talking to Kirby and his representatives here the next few weeks about the situation going forward.

Q. Could you see both him and Pomeranz in the bullpen side by side together this year?
A.J. PRELLER: I think the strength of the Pomeranz signing was to take an area that was a strength, in terms of the back of the bullpen with Kirby here, that we can point to every single night as a real competitive advantage every night with our club. I think the way Drew pitched at the end of last season, what Kirby's done the last three years and especially last year, we feel really good about the back part of our bullpen. If that ends up being something that plays out for us over the course of Drew's four years, and we have lights out back of the bullpen, that would be ideal honestly.

Q. Can you talk about the excitement of the return of the Padres to Mexico City?
A.J. PRELLER: I think probably an underrated story last year, we were able to take a group of our top Minor League prospects to Mexico City and play against the Mexico City club there to open the stadium for Alfredo Harp. It was first class treatment. For our Minor League players, they get an opportunity to see that type of atmosphere, which is really like playoff atmosphere, but just to see the love, the passion that the Mexico City fans have for the game of baseball, had for their team, had for that two-game series was really cool.

I think our players loved seeing the stadium. It's a first class facility, the best I've seen in Latin America. The ballpark, the layout of the ballpark, and then even downstairs in terms of the club house and the weight room, it's something that our guys are going to really enjoy.

I know for our organization last year, the two-game series we played from that prospect standpoint, I think it meant a lot development-wise for our guys, but I know overall for everybody that made that trip, it was an experience they're going to remember for a long time and really excited to go back there this year and play the Diamondbacks and bring Major League Baseball down there.

Q. Is Morejon and Michel Baez going to be in the bullpen, or are they going to get a chance to start?
A.J. PRELLER: Yeah, we've talked -- the conversations we've had with Adrian and Michel going into the off-season is prepare yourself to start. So I think that both guys, I think Michel was happy to hear that. I think they're both preparing themselves for starter workload.

I think, again, as we look to increase our number of starter options, we've signed those guys as starters. We feel like they're starters. They progressed through the Minor Leagues for the most part as starters. I think we gave them an opportunity to get to the Big Leagues last year out of the bullpen, one, to help our pen because our pen was struggling with those middle innings at that time, but to me also with those guys, a chance to get a taste of the Major Leagues and felt like that might be a way to get introduced to the highest level of competition.

But I think for us going forward, we talked to them as we started the off-season to be ready to come and compete for a spot in the starting rotation?

Q. With Kinsler still around and Profar coming in, could you see yourself trying to make some more moves around the middle of the infield?
A.J. PRELLER: Yeah, I think with the acquisition of Profar, Cronenworth, obviously having Garcia and Kinsler on the roster, I think we're just trying to basically give ourselves different options. I feel like we have some flexibility and we have some versatility. We're going to keep looking for ways to improve our club, and I think overall, obviously, with Tatis and Machado on the left side, I feel really good about those two guys going forward.

I think that's what the next few days here at the Winter Meetings is about, and that's what really the rest of this month is going to be about is continue looking at different possibilities, and that will be both in the infield, outfield, different spots on our club to try to get better.

Q. Is that basically the same with the catcher situation as well?
A.J. PRELLER: Yeah, I think with the catcher spot, again, yeah, we feel good with the depth we've built up. We feel good about Hedges, Mejia, those two guys coming in. We feel good with Luis Torrens' progression. It seems like there's definitely some -- you see some things out there about they build the upgrade at that spot. We continue to feel like with Hedgy and Mejia, that that's a spot that ultimately, compared to other production around the league and production throughout Major League Baseball, we feel like we're going to get above average production at that spot.

So we think the competition is healthy, and we'll kind of see how it plays out over the course of the next few weeks. I think from our standpoint, we feel good again about the guys that are playing for us.

Q. Are you getting more calls on your Major League talent or your Minor League talent?
A.J. PRELLER: Both. Again, I think the last few years is about talent accumulation. I think we've had the ability to add talented pieces in the Minor Leagues. On the Big League level, we've been able to make some moves that kind of start to shape more of a competitive club at the Big League level.

I think a big part is because we have some players that people like. So we're in a lot of conversation because of it, and I think honestly it's a combination of calls. I think there are deals that start, and then the conversation begins, players on the Big League squad that people want to try to access, and then there's always deals where people want to talk about some of the players in the Minor League system.

So I think the conversations we've had over the last month, but especially over the last week, have been combinations of Big League players and Minor League prospects.

Q. Anything bubbling, getting close that you want to tell us about?
A.J. PRELLER: Definitely something bubbling, yeah. It's been an active meeting. I think everybody here can feel it in terms of it's been a fun few days, I think. There's activity from a trade standpoint. It feels like it's even more active than it's been in years past. Not just for us. You see -- you kind of get that sense throughout the industry, some big signings.

My guess, some more players are going to come off the board in the next few days, and I think the conversation has been active from a trade standpoint. So it's been -- for us the conference room and the conversations have been -- they've been really active over the course of the last few days. So it's been a fun couple days here so far in San Diego.

Q. Have you been involved in three-team deals in the past, and then moving players different places, how creative do you allow yourself to get? Is there a trade out there that you kind of think, in a perfect world, you get two, three teams involved? How nutty do you think it could possibly get at some point?
A.J. PRELLER: Yeah, I think we've been involved in three-way deals, obviously, the easiest thing is when you're able to make direct trades and line up that way, but sometimes it's not quite there, or sometimes you know there's a player that another club may be interested in or you get that call from another club, if you can get so-and-so and you can access so-and-so.

I think we're in the middle of some of those conversations at times because we have players from the Big League level and from the Minor League level that enable you to be involved in a lot of different games.

Again, it's always hard -- it's hard to pull off any trade, and the three-way deal, probably because you have the extra club involved, it's a little bit more difficult. But I think from our standpoint, open to anything. We have a really creative room. When they're around some of the people that we have on the scouting standpoint, front office standpoint, there's a lot of names going up on that white board. Three ways, four ways -- we've had a few different conversations, and we'll see ultimately where we line up with.

Q. With the trade of Urias, does Owen Miller have a chance to compete for second base this year or next year?
A.J. PRELLER: Yeah, I think with Owen Miller, he's a guy that had -- he's had -- it's been a fast rise for him coming up from the Minor Leagues, coming out of college baseball, I think, two years ago, going from short season ending year in AA, I think he had 100 hits on that summer. That's very rare. And then last year playing the whole year at AA, he had a really nice year, and ending the season in the fall.

So, again, we made the Urias deal. We knew we had depth in our system, some depth at the Big League level. From the Minor League side, Owen is one of those guys, exactly at what point in time is he Big League ready, he'll tell us that.

I think, when we made that deal, we knew we had players that were going to play in the Big Leagues and in the middle infield, and he's one of those guys. So he'll get an opportunity to compete for that spot, whether it's Opening Day, Spring Training, or some other point. He'll get some opportunities for sure.

Q. What is Morejon's health status?
A.J. PRELLER: Yeah, he's good to go. He was cleared at the end of the season. He threw in the fall. I think he was continuing even on his off-season throwing. So he has no restrictions going into next year, no restrictions in the off-season program. So he was in a good spot when he left Arizona.

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