So when MLB suspended the Padres GM for serious breach of protocol, it was a surprise.
San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller was suspended Thursday for 30 games without pay by Major League Baseball, hours after news hit that the Padres allegedly withheld player health information in hopes of getting the upper hand in trade discussions.
ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote that the Padres allegedly built a special database to document player health details while skirting MLB’s rules about injury information. In essence, the Padres kept two sets of records: One that was incomplete and shared with other teams and another that was complete and kept in-house.
The Padres were called into question because of their July trades with the Boston Red Sox and Miami Marlins, which according to Olney, left teams thinking the Padres were using “strategic deception.”
In its announcement of Preller’s punishment, MLB didn’t comment on the specifics of its probe, saying only:
Major League Baseball has completed an investigation into the July 14th transaction in which pitcher Drew Pomeranz was traded from the San Diego Padres to the Boston Red Sox. MLB’s Department of Investigations conducted the thorough review, which included interviews with relevant individuals from both Clubs. The findings were submitted to Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr.
As a result of this matter, Major League Baseball announced today that A.J. Preller, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Padres, has received a 30-day suspension without pay.
MLB considers the matter closed and will have no further comment.Olney said at least three teams complained about the Padres to MLB.
Major League Baseball has a central database for player health information, where teams are supposed to keep their notes on injuries. In the event of a trade, doctors for each team trade codes and look at player notes. According to Olney, the Padres started keeping all the important notes in their separate database this year.
At the trade deadline, the Padres traded Drew Pomeranz the Red Sox and Andrew Cashner and Colin Read to the Marlins. Rea was hurt in his first start with the Marlins and in a highly unusual move, he was returned to the Padres The Red Sox were angered when they learned about preventative treatment Pomeranz was going through that wasn’t in his Padres notes.
In decades past, trades between teams were always "buyer beware." Each team had the responsibility to conduct a medical evaluation on a player before agreeing with a deal. MLB has streamlined the medical records process to help trade and free agent market evaluations.
The Padres intentionally deceived the other clubs by not putting in medical treatment into the central data base. It calls into question the trustworthiness of the San Diego organization in future team transactions.