You may recall that in May 2008, the White Sox fired senior director of player personnel David Wilder and scouts Jorge L. Oquendo Rivera and Victor Mateo after allegations surfaced that they had pocketed money earmarked for player signing bonuses. Specifically, they were accused of illegally defrauding 23 baseball prospects out of $400,000 from December 2004 to February 2008. Wilder was charged with seven counts of mail fraud.
He’s going to jail now:
Worth noting that when this stuff first hit the fan back in 2008, it led to a lot of articles talking about the state of player development in the Dominican Republic, the dangers of Buscones exploiting players and all of that. So much of it was used as the launching pad for calls for an international draft in order to “clean up” player development in the Dominican Republic.
Maybe there is some cleaning that needs done. But as of now, Wilder is by far the highest profile guy to fall, and he is no buscone. He’s an MLB guy. So make of that what you will.
The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.
After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.
Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.
Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:
In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?