Padres GM Preller says reputation not hurt by suspension
SAN DIEGO (AP) Padres general manager A.J. Preller said Wednesday that 10 teams have inquired about San Diego players since his 30-day suspension ended, including one that wanted to make a trade, a signal that his ability to deal with other clubs wasn't damaged by the unprecedented punishment.
Preller was suspended by Major League Baseball without pay on Sept. 15 for failing to disclose medical information when All-Star lefty Drew Pomeranz was traded to the Boston Red Sox in July.
The GM said there was no intent to deceive the Red Sox or other teams the Padres made deals with, but rather, a misunderstanding of baseball's medical reporting system and where the team was storing information on players. He said that was partly due to changing head trainers in the offseason, with the new trainer starting work shortly before spring training started.
''The discipline stemming from Major League Baseball, from our standpoint they felt like our medical record-keeping wasn't in line with some guidelines from an administrative standpoint,'' Preller said during an hour-long interview with three writers. ''I think from an integrity, intent standpoint, at no point in time for myself or anyone in baseball operations was there an intent to deceive, or an integrity question. I think Commissioner Manfred in his ruling stated that, that it wasn't about that. It was about the administrative side of things. That's something we're going to be very committed to correcting and making sure that obviously will not happen again.''
Preller vowed the Padres will be industry leaders and ''best in class'' in medical reporting standards.
''Whatever the minimum standards are for Major League Baseball, we're going to be way far above that,'' he said. ''It's a small league and everything like that, and you've got a lot of relationships. Overall, the sense I have from other clubs and other teams is that there's a trust factor and I think we're going to make sure we're setting up a structure to make sure other teams feel that.
''I feel confident that we're going to be able to make moves and deals with other clubs,'' he added.
Preller was hired in August 2014 and quickly gained a reputation as a wheeler-dealer. He made a dizzying run of deals the following offseason. After that win-now approach with veteran players failed, Preller almost as quickly shifted into a deep rebuilding mode.
''We've made a lot of (trades), and I think the idea of deals is to help both sides,'' Preller said. ''I think we've got to make sure that from our trade process standpoint that basically when we get through that process, both sides understand exactly what's been presented.''
After Preller was suspended, there were reports that the Padres were keeping medical information on players in two separate files, one for industry use and the other for internal use.
The Red Sox and other teams that made deals with the Padres said important information that should have been made available wasn't.
''From our standpoint, it was a situation where it wasn't that we had two different sets of information. It was where you go to store the information,'' Preller said. ''From an MLB guideline standpoint, it should be in a certain area of the Sutton EMR medical reporting system. That's what we have to make sure is stored exactly the way MLB will put out their guidelines or future minimal standards. We've already done that.
''Going forward, it starts with education and communication. It starts from a leadership standpoint, myself, making it a priority. The focus a lot of times on the baseball side is acquiring players, developing players, building a culture, but it's got to be on the administrative side as well. That's the area - I think we have very capable people in the front office. I think we're going to continue to bolster that and find some people that that's their focus every single day.''