Earlier this month, Sports Illustrated published a report, by senior writer Jon Wertheim, revealing that the U.S. Department of Justice has undertaken a “sweeping probe” of MLB teams’ international signing practices and corruption.
According Wertheim, the report details “how Caribbean smugglers traffic Cuban nationals to American soil, using third-country way stations” in order for them to sign with big league teams for big league money.
This is only part of the problem.
@wttspod has learned that some of the players being targeted by major league scouts in countries like the Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela are as young as 13 and 14 years old. According to mlb.com “an international player is eligible to sign with a Major League team between July 2 and June 15 of the following year if he is 17, or will turn 17 by the end of the first season of his contract.”
My source lead me to a news report from June 2018 by Neftali Ruiz of Noticias Sin (below), a Dominican news channel. According to Ruiz, 18-20 Dominican baseball players tested positive for controlled substances in tests conducted by MLB before the start of the international signing period of 2018. In the report, Ruiz interviews Rudy Santin, one of the most reputable coaches in the player signings business.
First, Santin admits that the use of banned substances is present in the Dominican baseball world. He says that major league scouts are partly to blame because in order to compete in the market, they have to sign kids as young as 13 and 14. Then, he says that in order for a kid of that age to get noticed, they have to do some “things,” otherwise they won’t be able to hit a home run out of Estadio Quisqueya let alone an MLB ballpark.
Santin echoes his statements in a YouTube video (below) posted by a user named Jose Guerrero on September 6, 2018, calling MLB “frauds” for not doing what is necessary to end the use of PED’s. He also proposes trainers and scouts to come together and stop signing children to pro deals.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
(Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times)