ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Padres are being investigated by Major League Baseball for the way it handled players’ medical records. According to Olney, Padres officials instructed athletic trainers to have to separate medical files on their players: one for “industry consumption” and one for the team’s internal use. One can make an assumption about which files would be more accurate. The trainers were told this methodology was being enforced in give the team a better position in trade negotiations.
All 30 major league teams put their players’ medical information into a central database called Sutton Medical System. It allows other teams to access the information to be aware of any red flags before signing off on a trade, for example. According to Olney, anytime a player goes into the training room and receives treatment, the details of that visit are supposed to be entered into the database. That includes using a hot tub, and requesting aspirin and anti-inflammatories.
The Padres organization as well as individuals within the organization could face discipline as the investigation is nearly complete.
The Padres director of communications Shane Wilson said, “At this point, it is an ongoing review, and we will refrain from comment until the process has concluded and we receive formal notification of the outcome from MLB. That said, there was no direction or intent on our part to mislead other clubs with respect to a player’s medical information.”
Olney adds that officials from three teams with which the Padres did business — the Red Sox, Marlins, and White Sox — were enraged by the Padres’ “strategic deception.” For example, after acquiring Drew Pomeranz, the Red Sox only then became aware of some of the preventative measures provided for Pomeranz. The lefty underwent shoulder surgery after last season.
The Padres also traded pitcher Colin Rea to the Marlins along with Andrew Cashner and Rea ended up suffering an elbow injury in his first appearance with his new team. The Marlins sent Rea back to the Padres and got pitching prospect Luis Castillo back, undoing part of the trade. Cashner remained in Miami.
This isn’t the first time general manager A.J. Preller has subverted the system. Per Olney, when Preller worked for the Rangers, he was suspended for violating baseball’s rules regarding international signings. The Padres were also reprimanded by Major League Baseball shortly after Preller’s hiring because he conducted a workout that went against industry regulations.