In June of 2013, a young Cuban by the name of Yasiel Puig, made his debut with one of the most awe-inspiring performances in recent memory. A rocket arm, a monster bat and a passion that is infectious from the locker room to the upper decks, all of baseball was asking the same question – “where did Puig come from?”
If you’re not familiar with the made for Hollywood story, I implore you to check out the story of midnight rendezvous’, smugglers, Mexican gangs and lifetime contracts of future earnings.
Naturally, the next question is “why aren’t other teams doing this?”
To understand the why, you’ll have to understand the how and Carl Prine of Sports Illustrated did his homework to give us an even deeper look into the underground smuggling network Puig and many other major league players have been a part of. In Prine’s article, he says that SI was provided a “thick” dossier that was also provided to the FBI.
Before we get into the details of the story, 2015 should be a rather significant year for Dodger fans to remember because Andrew Friedman was hired in October of 2014 and for those of you who don’t remember, a number contracts of “significant members” of the international scouting department were not renewed.
SI’s Prine also shared a document the Dodgers front office put together (in excel of course), which shows the level of detail Friedman and his team were doing to clean house. The following screen shot was a calculator the front office developed to measure the “level of egregious behavior” on display in their Latin American department.
Let’s do a quick recap:
- 2012 (McCourt Era): Dodgers build up their international scouting department with VP of International Development Bob Engle and Patrick Guerrero amongst the hires.
- 2014 (Guggenheim Era): Dodgers hire Andrew Friedman
- 2015 (Guggenheim Era): Dodgers end contracts of significant members of international scouting department in August 2015 including Bob Engle and Patrick Guerrero.
- 2017 (Guggenheim Era): FBI and Sports Illustrated receive a dossier with photographs, contracts, videos, copies of visas, passports and other private communications.
Sources told SI that the probe began when a whistle-blowing MLB insider provided the FBI with information last year during spring training (2017). – SI.com, Carl Prine
Yahoo reported that a federal grand jury has started the process by issuing subpoenas to club officials and other personnel. Phillies manager, Gabe Kapler, was the head of the Dodgers player development from 2015-2017, so his name has been mentioned in investigations.
It seems as if the Department of Justice is not commenting as the investigation continues, but this seems to be a story worth following well into the off-season.
What this means for the Dodgers is still unknown, but this level of corruption wouldn’t surprise me coming out of the Frank McCourt Era. It is also worth to note that the Braves and Red Sox are teams who have been recently penalized for similar accusations with a lifetime ban for their former GM, John Coppolella and the voiding of 13 Braves prospects representing the most severe punishment to date.