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A.J. Preller's job is not in danger

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Thursday's Say Hey, Baseball includes A.J. Preller's job security, Jon Lester's magical home run and stampeding children.

MLB: San Diego Padres-Press Conference Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

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The Padres are rebuilding in 2016. Well, sort of: they haven't fully committed to that just yet, as they still have plenty of pieces to sell, but those sales will eventually happen. That's why it's a little odd to hear whispers that general manager A.J. Preller's job is in jeopardy over the Padres' failure to contend in 2015. Contending would have been a nifty bonus in what is a long-term reshaping of a franchise that has for too long been directionless. If you need some direct evidence of that, Padres' President Mike Dee spelled out why those whispers should be ignored: Preller is there for the long term.

He was hired to improve San Diego's lackluster international efforts, as that was Preller's area of expertise while working in the Rangers' front office. The Padres have already started to commit significant resources to their international operations, and it's not the kind of thing that just changes overnight unless you're lucky enough to sign a Yoan Moncada or a Yasiel Puig -- the former was actually one of Preller's early targets, but the Red Sox signed him in the end, and opportunities to sign international free agents that close to the bigs are rare.

If the Padres never get anything out of the $30 million they've supposedly committed to international players for the next signing period -- a figure that's actually $60 million after budget penalties -- then we can talk about Preller's job security in ways other than saying "he has it." For now, the only real question to ask about Preller is why the Padres haven't gone in harder on the rebuilding angle. Knowing how he works the phones, though, the best guess is that the deals just weren't there yet. Like with those international signings, check back in July.