On Thursday, Major League Baseball suspended Padres general manager A.J. Preller for 30 days without pay. The ruling followed an investigation into the team’s alleged withholding of medical information in order to gain an edge in trade negotiations.
Specifically, the league looked into San Diego’s July trade with the Boston Red Sox, which saw All-Star pitcher Drew Pomeranz sent to Boston for prospect Anderson Espinoza. That meant the Red Sox were keen observers during the investigation and were expected to have an opinion on its outcome, one way or the other.
On Friday, chairman Tom Werner did the weighing in, sharing that the Red Sox were “extremely disappointed” in Preller’s punishment during an interview on NESN.
“I think it’s fair to say… that we were extremely disappointed in the decision,” Werner said. “We feel that some wrong was committed and it’s important to have a level playing field, and the Padres didn’t play on it.
Though his suspension doesn’t start until Monday, the Red Sox were also reportedly upset that Preller was spotted in the open addressing Padres instructional league players on Friday.
Even though Preller wasn’t violating his punishment, it’s still not a good look for him or the Padres.
With all of this in mind, It’s difficult to argue against Preller’s punishment being light. Especially when you get to the heart of the matter. Baseball is a business first, no doubt, but there’s also a level of trust and integrity that’s expected and even assumed among general managers. Based on the investigation and ultimately the suspension, it’s clear those Preller dealt with and the league itself felt he violated that trust.
It might be different too if there was just one issue to reference. Unfortunately for Preller, he was spotlighted again when Colin Rea injured his elbow in his first Miami Marlins start after being acquired from San Diego at the trade deadline. That situation was rectified by a subsequent trade sending Rea back to San Diego, but it only added fuel to the fire.
From the Red Sox perspective, it’s understandable that they may have figured on something beyond the league only punishing Preller and the Padres. Perhaps some compensation was even due to them given the league’s findings. That’s not going to happen now, but the Red Sox anger will likely outlive Preller’s suspension.
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