Lost in all of the Hall of Fame hubbub is a story that has some pretty big implications for baseball on-the-field:
An influential baseball scout who was arrested in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday allegedly gave new identities to his players to make them appear younger – and therefore more appealing to major league teams – to obtain professional contracts.
Victor Baez was charged by Dominican authorities with fraud and falsifying documents. A press statement released by Dominican police said the arrest represents a crackdown on scouts who use fraudulent documents, visas and passports to obtain commissions from players’ contracts.
We first started hearing a lot of stories about age-falsification following immigration restrictions imposed post-9/11. It’s not likely that the problem has gone away, however. After all, to avoid detecting of phony documents by immigration people, one need only get fake foreign documents earlier so that they appear to be more legitimate. The arrest of Baez shows that the practice is still flourishing.
The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.
Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”
Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.
Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.