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.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.