As you’ve probably heard by now, Padres GM AJ Preller has been suspended for 30 days by MLB for his role in the Padres’ handling of player health data and disclosure (or lack thereof) surrounding trades. Others have commented on the ethics and long-term business ramifications related to this issue, some even calling for heads to fall within the organization. Regardless of your opinions on these topics, the Padres still have to navigate the next month without the captain at the helm.
This investigation took well over a month to complete. Management must have known that some punishment was coming down, and as such, should have considered that decisions might need to be made without Preller in the room. Knowing what important dates are approaching, the management team could have prepared a list of strategies to deploy at the appropriate time over the coming weeks.
There’s a little over two weeks left in the season. Any players moved at this point won’t be eligible for postseason rosters, so trades are relatively rare this time of year. Due to expanded rosters, waiver traffic is lightest this time of the year. With a full 40-man roster, it’s unlikely any waiver claims would be cast over the next two weeks. Since the Padres aren’t anywhere near contention, there’s no impetus for roster moves between now and the end of the season. Over the next thirty days, there are no important decisions at the MLB level for the Padres’ General Manager.
Only the El Paso Chihuahuas are still playing games among the minor league organizations. The end-of-season plans for Austin Hedges, Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, and Carlos Asuaje were likely laid out months ago based on roster status and service time. The roster and coaching staffs for the Instructional League have been set. After the completion of the regular season, no major moves need to be made until the conclusion of the World Series, at which time all players on disabled lists are added back to active rosters... but that happens a couple of weeks after Preller’s back in his office.
The only activity relevant to the Padres in the next month is the opening of the various Winter Leagues. The five MLB-affiliated Winter Leagues all start play in the month of October. After the Instructional League concludes with a two-day showcase at Petco Park on October 6-7, many of the organization’s players will head off to exotic locales to continue to work. Again, the assignment of these players has likely been settled well in advance, so all that’s left is paperwork and logistics.
If the Padres could have chosen a 30-day period to go without AJ Preller, they might have targeted this period. While the suspension casts a shadow on the entire organization, the actual impact is minimized due to this fortunate timing. In his absence, those who work near his role can pick up the slack and everything should run according to plans that were set well in advance. Upon his return, he’ll have ample time to make final roster moves in preparation for the offseason. This slap of the wrist by MLB will have no significant immediate effects on the Padres organization.