The San Diego Padres will be without the services of their General Manager, A.J. Preller, for 30 days after it was revealed that the club failed to disclose accurate medical information about their players in order to gain an upper hand when it comes to trades.
Padres officials instructed their organization’s athletic trainers to maintain two distinct files of medical information on their players — one for industry consumption and the other for the team’s internal use, multiple sources have told ESPN.
Trainers were told in meetings during spring training that the distinction was meant to better position the team for trades, according to two sources with direct knowledge of what was said.
According to sources familiar with the fallout from some of the Padres’ midseason deals, officials from at least three teams that made trades with San Diego — the Boston Red Sox, Miami Marlins and Chicago White Sox — were enraged by what they perceived to be strategic deception: veiling medical information that could have been pivotal in trade discussions. At least one other team reached out to the commissioner’s office with a complaint, according to sources.
Two trades made by the Padres over the course of the season raised questions about the accuracy of the club’s medical records.
On July 14, the Red Sox traded one of their best pitching prospects, Anderson Espinoza, for San Diego’s All-Star left-hander Drew Pomeranz.
According to the ESPN article, sources within the Boston organization said it wasn’t until after the deal was made that they became aware of the full extent of Pomeranz’s medical background, including preventive measures taken by the Padres.
But in Rea’s first outing for the Marlins, he informed the team of elbow discomfort. It was only then that the Marlins learned the extent of Rea’s problems and that he also hadn’t been receiving treatment for weeks. Two days later, MLB executives negotiated the return of Rea to the Padres, with San Diego returning pitcher Luis Castillo to Miami.
At the time, Preller told FOX Sports San Diego: “After Colin was injured on Saturday night, they talked to us about revisiting the deal… Ultimately it ended up working out where we ended up coming to an agreement with them… We had an opportunity to re-aquire and we jumped at it.”
“In the end, we just felt like it was in the best interest of both clubs to make the trade, Colin Rea for Luis Castillo, and move forward,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill told mlb.com. “I really don’t want to get into his situation.”
According to Olney:
All MLB teams feed medical information into a central database known as the Sutton Medical System, designed to both maintain the privacy of individual players and to be accessible to teams when needed — such as when trades are made.
Any time a player goes into the training room and receives treatment — down to hot tubs, aspirin and anti-inflammatories — those details are supposed to be entered into records.
This is the second time Preller has been suspended by the MLB. He was suspended in the late 2000’s while working with the Rangers as the head of their international scouting department. He was reportedly disciplined for speaking to an agent about a player who was serving a suspension for providing false age and identity information.
Preller is in his second season as the Padres GM. He was hired in the 2014-2015 off season as part of the team’s failed revamping plan where they went out and got Matt Kemp and James Shields, among others.