Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Padres’ medical information practices is nearing its completion, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney, and the Friars could face penalty as a result of the findings. Olney reports that multiple sources have informed him that the Padres instructed their medical staff to compile two separate reports on each player — one for industry usage (i.e. medical reviews in trade talks) and one to be kept internal.
The difference between the two files, according to Olney, would be that the file for industry consumption would only contain information on injuries that required trips to the disabled list, whereas the in-house file would contain data on more minor injuries/maladies and preventative treatments that occur over the course of a given season. Three teams with which the Padres executed trades — the Red Sox (Drew Pomeranz), White Sox (James Shields) and Marlins (Andrew Cashner, Colin Rea, Fernando Rodney) were “enraged” and felt they were knowingly deceived by San Diego, Olney writes, adding that a fourth unspecified club filed a complaint with the Commissioner’s Office as well. Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald tweets that punishment for the Padres should be expected, adding that a common point he’s hearing in digging on this matter is that Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski “is [the] wrong guy to cross.”
The Marlins’ case, of course, is the most well-publicized. Rea departed his first start as a Marlin in the fourth inning due to elbow discomfort, and a subsequent MRI revealed ligament damage that ultimately required a platelet-rich plasma injection and may eventually lead to Tommy John surgery. The Padres ultimately traded highly touted minor league right-hander Luis Castillo back to the Marlins in exchange for Rea, and Olney now reports that Rea revealed to the Marlins that he’d been receiving treatment on his elbow for weeks leading up to the trade. That information, according to Olney, was not contained within the Padres’ medical records on Rea, therefore giving the Marlins no opportunity to back away from the deal due to concerns surrounding the young right-hander’s elbow.
As Olney explains, virtually any form of treatment — everything from DL trips down to the use of aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications — is supposed to be logged in a player’s medical file, and those files are logged to MLB’s central database and are available for review in trade talks. One source told Olney that an average team will have filed somewhere in the vicinity of 60 submissions to the database by the All-Star break, but the Padres had filed fewer than 10 submissions this season.
Perhaps most damning, Olney cites multiple sources with direct knowledge of meetings held by the Padres in Spring Training in reporting that the team specifically told its training staff that keeping separate files on the players would ultimately prove beneficial in trading efforts. If proven to be true, this would be far from the first controversy surrounding general manager A.J. Preller’s career as a Major League executive. Preller was suspended for violating signing guidelines and practices while heading up the Rangers’ international department and, per Olney, has also been reprimanded by the league since joining the Padres for violating industry regulations while conducting a workout with an unsigned player.
Those interested in the story are highly encouraged to read Olney’s full column, which goes into considerably greater detail on the matter and contains quotes from multiple unnamed executives on the Padres scandal.