Padres General Manager A.J. Preller is suspended for 30 days
In 2014, when the new owners of the San Diego Padres hired A.J. Preller as their general manager, they insisted that they were well aware of an asterisk by his name. When Preller ran international scouting operations for the Texas Rangers, Major League Baseball had suspended him for a month, reportedly over improper contact with a prospect.
Two years later, MLB has suspended Preller again. The league announced Thursday that Preller has been suspended 30 days without pay over improprieties related to the Padres’ July 14 trade of pitcher Drew Pomeranz to the Boston Red Sox.
The league announcement did not offer any details, but ESPN reported Thursday that the Padres had effectively withheld medical records from other clubs by setting up an internal database and funneling some information there rather than into the database accessible to all 30 teams.
Pomeranz remains with the Boston Red Sox. However, after the Padres sent pitcher Colin Rea to the Miami Marlins in a seven-player trade on July 29, Rea started the next day and was removed in the fourth inning with an elbow injury. The Padres agreed to take back Rea in a subsequent trade; the announcement of Preller’s suspension cited only the Pomeranz trade.
The suspension caps a turbulent season for the Padres. The team will miss the playoffs for the 10th consecutive year, and attendance is down despite the lure of this year’s All-Star Game at Petco Park.
The Padres have traded most of Preller’s high-priced imports from the winter of 2014-15, his first in charge. The Padres finished in fourth place last season with Matt Kemp, Craig Kimbrel, Melvin Upton and James Shields, and they will finish in fourth place — or fifth — without them.
In the interim, the owners entrusted Preller to spend the most money of any major league team this year on signing international amateur players and told fans the team probably would not contend again until 2019.
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin
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