According to KGO-TV in San Francisco, Robin O’Connor, a former payroll manager with the Giants, was arrested on federal charges associated with embezzling more than $1.5 million from player accounts.
O’Connor, who worked in the Giants’ front office for four years, received an annual salary of $80,000. An FBI affidavit says the 41-year-old mother-of-two embezzled $1,513,836.28 from the Giants’ payroll between June 2010 and June 2011. She was formally charged with wire fraud and fraud in connection with a computer.
The scheme blew up when O’Connor applied for a loan from Bank of America to buy a home in San Diego. She allegedly forged a letter from the Giants’ HR manager, explaining that the large deposits in her account were due to her “outstanding contributions … that assisted us in accomplishing our goal of winning the 2010 World Series.” That’s right. Who needs the likes of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Buster Posey, Juan Uribe, Cody Ross, Edgar Renteria and Brian Wilson when you have O’Connor? She was clearly the key to their title run. Anyway, when Bank of America sent a letter back to the Giants for confirmation, she was toast.
O’Connor has been released on $500,000 bond and is scheduled for arraignment in a month. While it’s too bad that some of the players were the victims in this featherbrained scheme, she may have saved Brian Sabean from spending $1.5 million on yet another ancient shortstop. Perspective, people.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.