SBD/Issue 106/Franchises

False Identity For Nats Prospect Brings Scrutiny To Int'l Signings

Stan Kasten Said Scheme Includes 
Falsified Hospital, School Documents
The revelation that 19-year-old Nationals prospect Esmailyn Gonzalez is actually 23-year-old Carlos Alvarez Daniel Lugo "intensifies the scrutiny on how, exactly, baseball teams -- especially the Nationals -- obtain their international players," according to a front-page piece by Chico Harlan of the WASHINGTON POST. Nationals President Stan Kasten yesterday confirmed an SI.com report that Gonzalez, whom the Nationals signed from the Dominican Republic in '06, "falsified both his identity and his age." Kasten described the lies as "deliberate, premeditated fraud." The FBI since last year has been "investigating baseball scouting practices in Latin America, where an unregulated network of middlemen, or street agents, create the potential for false IDs, money-skimming and kickbacks." Kasten yesterday acknowledged there is a "link between the Gonzalez signing and the probe, though he was unwilling to say whether Nationals employees would be held culpable." Harlan reports the news is not only the Nationals' "latest baseball embarrassment, but also raises internal concern about who was duped, and who knew all along." Kasten indicated that the "four-year scheme to protect Gonzalez's identity" included "falsified hospital documents, falsified school documents and family members who changed their identities" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/19). Kasten said, "We've been defrauded, and make no mistake -- this wasn't a college kid with a fake ID that came in and did this. This was a deliberate, premeditated fraud with a lot more to this story, and we are going to get to the bottom of it. There were many, many people involved in this premeditated fraud." Kasten added, "I have to give MLB's department of investigations a lot of credit. They really do deserve a lot of credit for finally cracking through this" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 2/18).

ANOTHER NATIONAL DISASTER: In DC, Thom Loverro writes if the report is true, it "should cost Nationals [GM] Jim Bowden ... his job." Even if Bowden, who has "enjoyed the protection" of Nationals Owner Mark Lerner, "had no knowledge of any scam, it happened on his watch and marks yet another embarrassment for a franchise that already is the laughingstock of baseball." Loverro: "Too many dubious deals and incidents have occurred during Bowden's administration to let him continue to run this franchise" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/19). The WASHINGTON EXAMINER's Rick Snider writes bad investments are "commonplace in sports," but "this one deserves someone's job." The Nationals in '06 "made a big deal" about the signing -- which included a $1.4M signing bonus -- and it was "supposed to be 'symbolic' of the team's ability to find prospects." The Nationals should "fire the scouts involved" (WASHINGTON EXAMINER, 2/19). ESPN.com's Rob Neyer wrote Gonzalez' signing bonus "isn't a lot of money to a modern baseball team," but a "miss this big suggests dereliction of duty, and as a result heads should fall" (ESPN.com, 2/18). ESPN.com's Keith Law wrote, "It's simply another black eye for an organization that is already a laughingstock in the industry, and a cautionary tale to organizations ramping up their scouting operations in the Dominican Republic, where you really are only as old as you feel" (ESPN.com, 2/18).

Return to top

Related Topics:

Franchises

Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug