The Nats should have known that Carlos Alvarez wasn't who he said he was

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Remember that big stink in early 2009 in which the Nats gave a big signing bonus to a guy who was found out to be four years older than they thought he was?  And that he was, you know, a totally different person than they thought he was.  Boy, was that embarrassing! But it gets worse: Nats’ personnel knew he was a fraud and didn’t say anything after they found out:

Carlos Alvarez, who was 20 when he passed himself off to the Nationals as 16-year-old prospect Esmailyn Gonzalez, testified in June in a Dominican appeals court that he told [Nats’ DR coordinator Jose Baez] that he wasn’t in fact Gonzalez after he had signed with the team. Alvarez told the court that he confessed the fraud to Baez because the family who provided him with fake documents had tried to blackmail him. Nelson Tejada, the investigator for Major League Baseball who discovered the fraud, testified that “Baez told me that he knew of this name change” and that Baez’s mistake was “knowing [of the fraud] and not reporting it.”

Former GM Jim Bowden’s right-hand man Jose Rijo knew about it too, Alvarez testified.  The FBI has been investigating this matter too, by the way, to see if any Nats employees committed fraud, so that’s fun too.

Just something to remind Nats fans that Mike Rizzo has a lot more to rebuild in this organization than just the major league roster.

Report: Steve Cohen makes $2 billion offer to purchase Mets

Steve Cohen Mets offer
REUTERS/Steve Marcus
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Charles Gasparino reports that billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen has submitted an offer to buy the Mets for $2 billion as well as an additional $2 billion for SportsNet New York (SNY). The Mets own a 65% controlling interest in SNY. (Full disclosure: Comcast, through NBC Sports Group, owns an 8% share of SNY.)

As Jon Heyman reported yesterday, the Mets were expected to accept the first round of bids by Thursday. Cohen was one of a handful of bidders that also included Josh Harris and David Blitzer, Álex Rodríguez and Jennifer Lopez, and the Reuben brothers.

Cohen and the Wilpons were believed to be in agreement on a deal back in December that would have increased Cohen’s ownership share from 8% to 80% in exchange for $2.6 billion. However, the deal fell through as Cohen grew upset the Wilpons attempted to change the terms of the agreement at the last minute. The two sides have, obviously, patched up their differences.

As Sportico’s Scott Soshnick notes, the offers in the first round of bidding are non-binding. At any rate, given Cohen’s preliminary offer, the Wilpons are likely to collect quite the windfall. Fred Wilpon bought a 50% stake in the Mets for $81 million in 1980 and bought the other half in 2002 for $391 million.

Perhaps with different owners, the Mets could get back to being consistently competitive. Since 2012, the club has sat in the middle-third of the league (rank 11-20) or lower in terms of total payroll.