Back in 2009 a young pitcher from the Dominican Republic named Juan Collado signed with the Diamondbacks for $17,000 and even played in Arizona’s minor-league system, but it turned out his name was actually Juan Carlos Paniagua.
MLB suspended him for one year and the deal with the Diamondbacks was voided, but then once he was done sitting out Paniagua signed with the Yankees … for $1.1 million.
So falsifying documents and misrepresenting himself ended up earning Paniagua an extra $1 million. Or it did, briefly. Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that Paniagua has been suspended again and the pitcher’s lucrative deal with the Yankees has also been voided.
MLB has refused to disclose the exact nature of the suspension and apparently they haven’t even told the Yankees, but Badler notes that “one-year suspensions are usually reserved for a player who presents false information to teams about his age or his identity.”
In other words, maybe Juan Carlos Paniagua isn’t actually Juan Carlos Paniagua just like Juan Collado wasn’t actually Juan Collado. And maybe next time he’ll get $2 million.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.
Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.
It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.