You may recall that in May 2008, the White Sox fired senior director of player personnel David Wilder and scouts Jorge L. Oquendo Rivera and Victor Mateo after allegations surfaced that they had pocketed money earmarked for player signing bonuses. Specifically, they were accused of illegally defrauding 23 baseball prospects out of $400,000 from December 2004 to February 2008. Wilder was charged with seven counts of mail fraud.
He’s going to jail now:
Worth noting that when this stuff first hit the fan back in 2008, it led to a lot of articles talking about the state of player development in the Dominican Republic, the dangers of Buscones exploiting players and all of that. So much of it was used as the launching pad for calls for an international draft in order to “clean up” player development in the Dominican Republic.
Maybe there is some cleaning that needs done. But as of now, Wilder is by far the highest profile guy to fall, and he is no buscone. He’s an MLB guy. So make of that what you will.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.