Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Buying a house? Have a home inspector thoroughly check out your potential purchase.
Buying a used car? Have a mechanic thoroughly check the vehicle out under the hood.
Paying some big dollars for a young prospect? Better have conducted a thorough and complete background check.
Apparently, Our Washington Nationals did not on Esmailyan Gonzalez.
Reportedly, Esmailyan Gonzalez is not who he has claimed to be over the past three years.
Instead, try Carlos Alvarez Daniel Lugo and he's 23 years old this day--not 19.
There is a lot of explaining to do by Our Washington Nationals. Baseball Operations needs to conduct a little soul searching because The Dominican Republic is a relatively small country-an island shared with Haiti. It would have to be pretty hard NOT to know who most every baseball prospect is in The DR. Not only that, but where they came from, each player's family histories.
What makes matters worse is Sports Illustrated claiming that Gonzalez/Lugo's Buscon (deal broker), Basilio Vizcaino, is a childhood friend of Washington's Special Assistant to The GM--Jose Rijo. And the very same Vizcaino is said to be a protege of Jose Baez--Washington's Director of Operations in The Dominican Republic.
No, this latest escapade does not look good. Embarrassing for Our Young Team which just last week had won back the hearts of some of their fans by signing Adam Dunn. Now, this has happened in the past. I recall The Baltimore Orioles having a young prospect named Ed Rogers who was actually three years older than he originally claimed. No one to this day really knows how old "El Duque", Orlando Hernandez, really is.
And Miguel Tejada, recently in the news for lying to Congress about Steroids, also lied about his age when he first came over from The Dominican Republic. Tejada was two years older than anyone thought.
So, there is precedent of this happening in the past.
But it doesn't excuse having it happen to Our Washington Nationals. At 23 years of age, Gonzalez/Lugo is not a top prospect anymore. How does Washington handle him now? In the whole scheme of things, the bonus money given Gonzalez/Lugo is relatively unimportant. What matters is that Baseball Operations may have just wasted three years developing a young player that may never come close to making The Show. Development time and effort thrown away thanks to lies from not only "Smiley", but those others involved back in The Dominican Republic that helped perpetuate these shenanigans for the personal gain of money,
When Our Washington Nationals signed Gonzalez/Lugo to that $1.4 Million deal in late 2006, they were looking to make the big splash--attempting to show that Washington would be competitive on the International front in finding ball players. Obviously, they didn't dot all the "I's" or cross all the "T's".
Instead they were Hoodwinked. And today, Our Washington Nationals lost some serious face.
PS--that picture above is of Gonzalez/Lugo on the very first day he ever showed up at Nationals Training Camp in Viera, Florida on February 19, 2007.