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BUTLER REDSFAN
02-21-2009, 12:04 PM
A top Washington Nationals prospect and recipient of the largest international signing bonus in team history is not who he appeared to be. Esmailyn Gonzalez, who is listed as 19 years old on the team's roster, is actually 23-year-old Carlos Alvarez Daniel Lugo, four sources have told SI.com.

The Nationals, owned by the Lerner family, gave the shortstop from the Dominican Republic a $1.4 million signing bonus on July 2, 2006, and trumpeted his arrival as a sign of their commitment to acquiring top-tier talent. (Players from Latin America are not subject to the draft and can sign with the team of their choice.) "This signing is symbolic of the Lerner family's and incoming club president Stan Kasten's pledge to become an industry leader in scouting and player development,'' Washington general manager Jim Bowden said at the time of the deal.

Gonzalez's signing, however, immediately drew suspicion from baseball insiders. There was considerable skepticism about the team's description of him as a five-tool player. "He doesn't run all that well, and has an average arm," an executive with another team said this summer.

The Texas Rangers were the next highest bidder for Gonzalez, offering only $700,000. Agent Rob Plummer negotiated with all teams on behalf of Gonzalez -- except the Nationals. Those negotiations were handled by Basilio Vizcaino, Gonzalez's buscon (a person who trains amateur youth baseball players in exchange for a percentage of future signing bonuses). Vizcaino is a childhood friend of Bowden's special assistant, Jose Rijo, and a protégé of Jose Baez, the Nationals director of operations in the Dominican Republic. The size of Gonzalez's bonus and the close relationship between Vizcaino, Baez and Rijo drew the attention of the FBI and Major League Baseball's department of investigations. (A federal investigation into allegations of skimming of bonus money given to Latin players has been going on for the past seven months.) It's unclear if anyone named Esmailyn Gonzalez exists or how the player's paperwork was falsified. Also unknown is whether Gonzalez, who is still in the Dominican Republic, will be able to obtain a visa to join the club for spring training.

The revelation of Gonzalez's true age reduces his perceived value as a player. In 2008, his second season in the Gulf Coast (rookie) League, Gonzalez was named league MVP and won the league batting title, hitting .343. He was second in the league in on-base percentage (.431) and runs (42), and third in RBIs (33) and hits (62). One scout who has seen Gonzalez play, says, "Those are great numbers, but you should be hitting that well if you're that much older than your competition."

Nationals representatives, Rijo and Vizcaino did not return calls from SI.com requesting comment. Kasten and Major League Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney declined to comment. Bowden and Rijo have previously denied any financial improprieties in the Gonzalez case.

BUTLER REDSFAN
02-21-2009, 12:06 PM
My question in this related to the Reds...if you read the whole article(on ORG)...if Bowden is such a boob and can't do anything right then why couldn't the Reds ever do anything to Bowden during the Majewski matter??

Orodle
02-21-2009, 12:17 PM
My question in this related to the Reds...if you read the whole article(on ORG)...if Bowden is such a boob and can't do anything right then why couldn't the Reds ever do anything to Bowden during the Majewski matter??

The worst that could happen to Bowden in that situation was a slap on the wrist and I dont think the Reds organization thought it was worth their time.

Its obvious to me that Bowden is a boob. When he took over the Nationals actually had some decent pitching and a decent team. Bowden has only ran that organization back a few steps........losing the pitching for what 7 major league level outfielders? I really don't know how he still has a job.

JBChance
02-22-2009, 12:01 AM
The Texas Rangers were the next highest bidder for Gonzalez, offering only $700,000. Agent Rob Plummer negotiated with all teams on behalf of Gonzalez -- except the Nationals. Those negotiations were handled by Basilio Vizcaino, Gonzalez's buscon (a person who trains amateur youth baseball players in exchange for a percentage of future signing bonuses). Vizcaino is a childhood friend of Bowden's special assistant, Jose Rijo, and a protégé of Jose Baez, the Nationals director of operations in the Dominican Republic. The size of Gonzalez's bonus and the close relationship between Vizcaino, Baez and Rijo drew the attention of the FBI and Major League Baseball's department of investigations.

I am hoping that Rijo is clean in this mess and the financial investigation. He's one of my favorite Reds pitchers.

The more I hear his name getting mixed up in this stuff, the more I'm afraid He's dirty.

redsfandan
02-23-2009, 12:20 AM
Jim Bowden Under Investigation
By Tim Dierkes [February 22 at 9:52pm CST]
According to SI.com's Melissa Segura:

A federal investigation into the skimming of signing bonuses given to baseball prospects from Latin America is looking at Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden as far back as 1994, when he was GM of the Cincinnati Reds, according to a baseball executive familiar with the investigation.

The Bowden investigation is linked to the David Wilder scandal by way of a scout named Jorge Oquendo. The Chicago Tribune just posted new details on Wilder this evening. Segura doesn't suggest it, but you have to think Bowden's job is in jeopardy
Finally! I don't typically take joy in other peoples misery but :lol: :thumbup:.

ChatterRed
02-23-2009, 10:51 AM
Bowden should go out and buy a bunch of leatherpants. He might not be able to afford it before long. And he might want to consider purchasing them with a wider waste, as he surely will gain weight sitting around the house watching Oprah all day long.

Davis>Bruce
02-23-2009, 11:06 AM
Why would you want Bowden to lose his job?
As long as he is running another team, that is one less team the Reds have to worry about being good.
I say let him run all the other teams! No teams would have good pitching.

Orenda
02-25-2009, 03:14 PM
In the event that Jim Bowden gets replaced in Washington, I'd be interested to see the reds bring him back to occasionally do play by play with Marty.

reds1869
02-25-2009, 06:07 PM
Why would you want Bowden to lose his job?
As long as he is running another team, that is one less team the Reds have to worry about being good.
I say let him run all the other teams! No teams would have good pitching.

Maybe he will land with the Cubs. :evil:

redsfanmia
02-25-2009, 08:09 PM
In the event that Jim Bowden gets replaced in Washington, I'd be interested to see the reds bring him back to occasionally do play by play with Marty.

That would be good, Bowden would have some good insight and I bet those two would have great chemistry.

hokie94
02-25-2009, 11:55 PM
I think Boden is beeing set up. Reds should be happy about this and hire him on board to help out there team in the big show.

JBChance
02-26-2009, 12:31 PM
Scandal keeps going; Rijo gets let go.
Per ESPN: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3934998


The Washington Nationals have decided to fire special assistant Jose Rijo and will shut down the team's academy in the Dominican Republic as part of a restructuring of the team's operations in Latin America in the wake of an age-changing scandal involving one of the team's top prospects, several baseball sources have confirmed.

Like I posted earlier, I had hoped that Rijo wasn't involved in the skimming/ age-changing crap. Guess I was just sticking my head in the sand. His on-field performances were stellar with us, but now he's got a black mark on him, in my eyes :(

Bowden should be next, IMO. At least this didn't happen when he has with us, but, I'm hoping it didn't start here and get traced back to us. We don't need the bad press.

:thumbdown