Former White Sox executive sentenced to two years for defrauding Dominican players

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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.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.