Preller mixes with other GMs for first time since suspension
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Three weeks after his 30-day suspension ended, San Diego general manager A.J. Preller is mixing with his fellow general managers at baseball's annual GMs meeting.
Major League Baseball suspended Preller without pay on Sept. 15 after a league investigation showed the Padres had withheld medical information from trade partners, including a July deal that sent All-Star left-hander Drew Pomeranz to Boston.
''I think you always learn from everything,'' Preller said Tuesday. ''We own the issues that came up, and now going forward, you've got to learn from them and get better.''
There aren't any apparent signs the wrongdoing is affecting Preller's communication with other teams. Preller said the Padres have ''had active discussions with teams. We've had teams inquire about some of our players.''
MLB gave the Red Sox the right to rescind the trade, but they passed because, according to Commissioner Rob Manfred, Pomeranz was healthy and the trade deadline had passed, so Boston could not have acquired anyone else.
''That's over and done with at this point, so we need to move forward,'' Red Sox manager Dave Dombrowski said.
Dombrowski said there must be ''open communication'' between all clubs, including the Padres, ''if you're going to do your job properly.''
Preller said he and the Padres have learned their lesson.
''We've definitely focused on making sure the issue never comes up again,'' he said. ''As far as medical record keeping, I think the intent is to be best in class. From our standpoint, we're pretty confident we're going to have the personnel in place and the process in place so there's no confusion going forward on where we're at and where we stand on things.''
While Preller was serving his suspension, President Mike Dee departed in what the club said was a mutual decision. Managing partner Peter Seidler said the move was unrelated to Preller's suspension or the medical records issue. San Diego lost 94 games and tied for last place in the National League with the Cincinnati Reds.
Across the room from where Preller spoke Tuesday, Los Angeles Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi was coy with reporters asking about the team's prominent players who became free agents, including closer Kenley Jansen.
Zaidi said his top priority is retaining the ''big four'' of those free agents, but he wouldn't say who they were. He likely was referring to Jansen, third baseman Justin Turner, pitcher Rich Hill and outfielder Josh Reddick, although second baseman Chase Utley also is a free agent.
Joe Blanton and J.P. Howell, part of Los Angeles' bullpen, also became free agents.
''Certainly the first part of our offseason is going to be driven by retaining our own guys,'' Zaidi said. ''We obviously have a good number of free agents. Once we get through the early period and some of that sorts itself out, we might have a second phase to the offseason filling out holes based on how that retention works out.''
Los Angeles led the major leagues with a payroll of about $255 million in 2016, down from a record $270 million last year.
''Free agency is an expensive proposition period,'' Zaidi said, ''but there's a lot of competition for good players. This is how free agency's supposed to work.''