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.


Brian said...

The problem isn't that Bowden/Rijo/Baez claim to have not known his age. It's that the Nats doubled the Rangers offer.

Why would the Nats have to double their offer when we have the buscon's best friend working on the deal? Why would the Nats work with the buscon when every other team was working with the kid's agent?

There's clearly more to the FBI skimming investigation and here lies the proof. While this is a sad day in our young history, perhaps it's a start in the right direction.

Cut ties with Rijo. Fire Bowden. Promote Rizzo. It's the only silver lining.

Jim H said...

Game over. Mr. Bowden needs to leave the building.

Roberto said...

I agree with the previous two comments: this affair must cost Bowden his job. The FBI investigation was bad enough -- this fiasco cost the team time and resources and was facilitated by people Bowden brought on board.

Anonymous said...

The Nats GM is an embarassment to Major League baseball, an embarassment the organization, and an embarassment to Nats fans. Maybe the time has come to non-tender the GM.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could post a huge Homer Simpson "D'oh" right here.

Anonymous said...

Get rid of Bo-Done. He is a joke and the laugh is on the Slow Lerners if they allow this clown to keep serving Duds.

Anonymous said...

This has to be the final nail in JimBo's coffin. It's bad enough they overpaid for this player, but to overpay and not even get what you were paying for is embarrasing. To deal with his "coach" and not with his agent (who every other team is dealing with) and then to find out about the close relationship between the "coach" and Nationals personnel (who work directly under JimBo) is beyond ridiculous and should be investigated not only by MLB but by the federal authorities. My only hope is that JimBo and the rest of his "crew" get indicted and that the Lerner's finally see the light and send JimBo and his crew out of here to be followed by some of the former Reds he forced upon us (don't you get the feeling that JimBo is to the Lerners as Cerato is to Synder?). Let Stan run the show; he is the only one who has a world championship ring on his finger and he would never have exposed the team to this humiliation.

VCUAlum Kyle said...

Hey SBF,
Off the subject of Gonzalez but do you know when the Nats have their media day this year?

Screech's Best Friend said...

VCUAlum Kyle: If you mean the picture day for uniforms in Viera, I really don't know and have not heard. Last year it happened over a three day period early after the start of full squad camp.

Anonymous said...

After the ARod shocker, "SmileyGate" isn't the biggest shocker of the week.

Age problems in the DR are nothing new. Sometimes the age issue isn't as big of a deal when the player hits All Star status.

It was rumored in 1999, that a phenom named Jose Pujols aka Phat Albert Pujols was possibly older than the 19 years of age that was reported on his records. Due to the uncertainty many teams passed up on Pujols who slipped to the 13th round in the 1999 draft (#402 overall).

This Smiley Lugo or whatever his name is, exposes the additional risk of going after High School age players in the Dominican.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the voices who are calling for Jim Bowden to resign or be fired. Here's why:

-- The premature announcement of non-tendering Chad Cordero
-- The Gonzalez or whoever is he fiasco
-- Signing Paul LoDuca the day before the Mitchell Report came out
-- The 58-102 record last year on his watch

Cleaning house of Bowden and his cronies will go a long way toward establishing credibility for the Nationals in MLB circles and in Washington, D.C.

A new, better day is on the horizon in the midst of this latest embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

Brace yourselves. I'm willing to bet some upstart is doing his/her due diligence on this story, and is probably up to their heads in info. And will probably correlate the two Franchises "similarities". Cincinnati, get ready!!

Bowden and associates MUST go!

VCUAlum Kyle said...

Yep, thats the one I was talking about! Thanks for the heads up, I guess it will happen toward the end of the month right before March like last year.

As for the fraud, I have never been anti Jim Bowden. I still have no beef with the guy because I feel he has never had the full oppurtunity (aka an open CHECKBOOK) like a Theo Epstein or Brian Cashman. On the other hand, especially after you read Moneyball Billy Beane never has and never will in Oakland and he still wins.

I hope all the facts come out and who ever did help in this scandal lose their jobs ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Well, folks, don't mean to be a contrarian here but:

- Bowden brought us Soriano.
- He is the perfect GM to support the Plan.
- He brought us Dunn.
- He brought us Willingham and Olson, and got rid of the execrable Felipe Lopez.
- He got rid of the Chief, who will probably never appear in MLB as a closer again.

Let's be honest. Bowden knows what he's doing.

Anonymous said...

In support of Anon at 11:07:

Let's not also forget the creativity Bowden used in getting Jack McGeary to sign in 2007.

Also, has he ever made a trade where the Nats haven't at least broken even?