Three years ago 16-year-old Dominican middle infielder Alvaro Aristy signed with the Padres for $1 million as one of the top international prospects available that season.
Since then he’s hit .169 while failing to advance beyond rookie-ball and now Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that Aristy’s real name is Jorge Leandro Guzman and his real age at the time of the signing was 19.
MLB investigator Dan Mullin told Badler that they first got a tip about Aristy/Guzman in January of 2010 and he quickly fessed up, but because of an “administrative error” there was no immediate suspension.
Now he’s a 22-year-old rookie-ball hitter with a .169 career batting average and has played the past three seasons in the Dominican Summer League in part because he can’t obtain a work visa for the United States. Oh, and Aristy/Guzman was also suspended 50 games in 2009 after testing positive for an anabolic steroid before anyone knew of his faked identity.
Badler’s article is definitely worth reading for all the weird details, but the good news for the Padres is that they recouped most of the $1 million signing bonus thanks to an insurance policy.