Shortstop Esmailyn Gonzalez, one of the best prospects in the Nationals organization, isn't who he says he is.
According to SI.com, which cited four sources, Gonzalez is actually a 23-year-old named Carlos Alvarez Daniel Lugo. The Nationals list him as being 19 years old.
Gonzalez's current agent, Stanley King, said early Wednesday morning he was shocked by the revelations.
"I hope this is a mistake," King said via telephone. "I was at his house this winter and he answered by his [baseball name]. I will look into this."
The Nationals agreed to terms with Gonzalez on July 2, 2006. The switch-hitting Gonzalez received a $1.4 million signing bonus, the largest the club has paid for an international signing. . .
The signing had already raised red flags with the FBI and MLB's department of investigations, which are looking into allegations of improprieties regarding bonuses for Latin players.
As SI.com reported, it is not known if there is a real person or baseball player named Esmailyn Gonzalez, how the falsification of documents might have occurred, and if Gonzalez will be able to secure the proper visa to join the club at Spring Training.
This past season, Gonzalez played for the Gulf Coast Nationals and hit .342 with 33 RBIs and a .431 on-base percentage in 181 at-bats.
"Those are great numbers," a scout told SI.com, "but you should be hitting that well if you're that much older than your competition."
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
That Kind of Year Again
Last year, injuries forced the Washington Nationals to use a league-leading 133 different line-ups. But even if the DL is shorter, there's little relief in sight for fans, according to today's news: