Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Sunday that when his office became aware of the San Diego Padres’ efforts to withhold medical information about pitcher Drew Pomeranz prior to his trade to the Red Sox, Boston was offered an opportunity to seek a reversal of their trade deal.
However, that information and the offer to undo the deal came shortly after the Aug. 1 trade deadline. At a time when a lack of starting pitching depth had been one of the Sox’ foremost shortcomings, Boston declined to ask for Pomeranz to go back to the Padres.
Once the Sox made their decision, the commissioner’s office didn’t feel that it was in position to explore any other modification of the deal.
“For a very, very long time, there has been a rule in baseball that if something happens in terms of lack of complete information or disclosure with respect to the trade that the remedy is to rescind the trade,” said Manfred, noting that the Padres and Marlins undid part of a seven-player deal this summer when pitcher Colin Rea arrived in Miami with a pre-existing elbow injury. “We offered [the Sox] early on the opportunity to seek recision in the trade and for good baseball reasons, the biggest one being we were past the trading deadline, they elected not to seek recision.
“Once that happens the rule in baseball has always been that we do not reconfigure trades. And why is that? … [Once] the player has moved, begun playing for another franchise, his physical situation may evolve. Figuring out exactly what happened when is extraordinarily difficult if not impossible. And even if we can figure that out, we are not institutionally capable of deciding who would have traded what for what. Even in retrospect. It’s just something that the institution can’t do. That’s why we have the recision in the first place.”
Pomeranz, who made the National League All-Star team on the strength of an 8-7 record and 2.47 ERA in 17 starts with the Padres prior to the deal, is 3-5 with a 4.68 ERA in 13 starts for the Red Sox. After he experienced left forearm soreness in his last start, he will not be asked to make another start in 2016. He is a consideration for a postseason bullpen spot.
Manfred said that the league felt that suspending San Diego general manager A.J. Preller for 30 days “does some pretty serious damage,” but that it was up to the team to the Padres to determine whether Preller should be fired.
Manfred was at Fenway Park for David Ortiz’s retirement ceremony on Sunday.
Follow Alex Speier on Twitter at @alexspeier.