Ex-White Sox scout sent to prison for taking kickbacks on international players

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According to the Associated Press, former White Sox scout Victor Mateo was sentenced to eight months in prison yesterday in Chicago due to his involvement in taking kickbacks intended from international signings.

Mateo, who was the team’s scout in the Dominican Republic, and two other former White Sox employees were found to have defrauded 23 prospects out of $400,000 between 2004 and 2008. They did it by inflating the value of the players and taking the added cash for themselves. All three pleaded guilty.

We learned back in August that former White Sox senior director of player personnel David Wilder was sentenced to two years in prison for orchestrating the scheme. Another former scout, Jorge L. Oquendo Rivera, received a sentence of one year and a day.

Yankees, Mariners expressing interest in J.A. Happ

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Yankees and Mariners are both expressing interest in Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.

Happ is posting a 3.48 ERA and a 94/25 K/BB ratio in 82.2 innings across 14 starts and has been stingy with the hits as well. Between that, the Blue Jays’ lack of contention and the fact that Happ is in the walk year of his three-year, $36 million deal, all signs point to the Jays trading them.

In normal circumstances you might not expect the Jays to make a trade with the Yankees, but at this point it sort of doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not like Happ in New York on a couple month rental will impact the 2018 Jays too much. And, given his pending free agency, it’s not extraordinarily likely that he’d haunt the Jays from the Bronx long term either.

There’s not a ton of elite pitching currently available, but as the trade deadline approaches — a little over a month to go on that score — the talk about Happ, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano and others will heat up. Figure the Yankees will be linked with any and all available starters.