Remember when the Padres traded Colin Rea to Miami, only to have a furious Marlins front office send him back to San Diego after he got hurt in his very first appearance with his new team? According to a report from ESPN, that snafu didn’t happen by accident.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Padres are currently being investigated by MLB for improperly logging medical information about their players, for the express purpose of gaining an advantage over other teams during trade talks.
MLB maintains a database of players’ medical records called the Sutton Medical System. It’s common practice for all teams to file any medical treatment received by one of their players—whether it be knee surgery or a prescription for anti-inflammatories—into that database, where it can then be accessed by teams who are in advanced talks to trade for a particular player. Think of it as Carfax, but for baseball players.
Olney describes this system as one that relies on teams being honorable. There are no rules governing what information goes into the database and what doesn’t, and there are some teams that keep more meticulous records than others. This year, however, the dearth of information provided by the Padres stuck out:
According to sources, the Padres reached midseason with dramatically fewer medical entries on their players. An average number of entries for a given team might be in the range of 60 by the All-Star break. The Padres had fewer than 10, according to a source.
Olney cites sources who told him that Padres actually began running their own internal medical database this year, where they kept information about players that was not submitted to the central MLB database. From ESPN:
The athletic trainers were told to post the details of any disabled-list-related medical situations on MLB’s central system, but they also were instructed to keep the specifics about preventive treatments only on the Padres’ internal notes. One source defined the distinction in this way: If a player was treated for a sore hamstring or shoulder without being placed on the disabled list, that sort of information was to be kept in-house, for use within the organization only.
As you might imagine, teams that did business with the Padres at this year’s trade deadline are righteously pissed off about this. The Marlins were enraged by the previously-mentioned mess that was the Colin Rea trade, and Olney reports that the Red Sox claim they had no idea starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz had been receiving preventative injury treatment when they acquired him from San Diego.
Between this and chairman Ron Fowler continually dumping the blame for all his organization’s failures on the players, the Padres are quickly becoming one of the most hatable teams in the league.