Jose Rijo: really underrated pitcher. Also: he’s had a hot mess of a post-playing career. The latest:
A prosecutor in the Dominican Republic says 1990 World Series MVP Jose Rijo has been charged with laundering money for a suspected drug trafficker.
Prosecutor Soraime Vargas says about 80 percent of the assets of fugitive drug suspect Avelino Castro were in Rijo’s name. Those assets allegedly include two hotels and a sports complex. Vargas announced money laundering charges against the former pitcher at a news conference Monday. Prosecutors asked a court to order Rijo to remain in the country but did not seek his arrest.
The drug suspect, by the way, is suspected of kidnapping and murdering people. And as the article says, he’s now a fugitive. Fugitives often need clean sources of money, so hey hey.
This has all been simmering since last September, by the way, when authorities first tried to question Rijo about it all but he kept refusing to show up. Then there was that bit a few years back when he was neck-deep in the international prospect shenanigans that brought down Jim Bowden in Washington.
He had nasty stuff back in the day. Now: more nastiness.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.