Ex-White Sox scout sent to prison for taking kickbacks on international players

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According to the Associated Press, former White Sox scout Victor Mateo was sentenced to eight months in prison yesterday in Chicago due to his involvement in taking kickbacks intended from international signings.

Mateo, who was the team’s scout in the Dominican Republic, and two other former White Sox employees were found to have defrauded 23 prospects out of $400,000 between 2004 and 2008. They did it by inflating the value of the players and taking the added cash for themselves. All three pleaded guilty.

We learned back in August that former White Sox senior director of player personnel David Wilder was sentenced to two years in prison for orchestrating the scheme. Another former scout, Jorge L. Oquendo Rivera, received a sentence of one year and a day.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.