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.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.
McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).
McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.