Marlins closer Leo Nunez was suddenly placed on Major League Baseball’s restricted list Thursday and sent back to his native Dominican Republic.
And now we know why.
According to the Associated Press, the right-hander has been pitching under a fake name and a fake birth date since arriving in the United States back in 2001.
Nunez’s real name is Juan Carlos Oviedo, and he is 29 years old — not his listed age of 28.
The Marlins have reportedly known about the issue for several months, but they’ve refused comment to this point and may remain silent until the federal government reaches some kind of ruling. This, after all, is no longer a baseball matter.
Nunez (er, Oviedo) posted an effective 4.06 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 55/21 K/BB ratio in 64 1/3 innings this season for the Fish, converting 36 of 42 save opportunities. He will be entering his third year of arbitration eligibility if allowed back into the country, and back into the major leagues.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.
Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.
The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.