Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nats sign teenager for $225,000

Associated Press file photo
The Esmailyn Gonzalez scandal set the Nats international efforts back for years.
Leery of delving into the international market after getting burned by a young shortstop who falsified his name and age in order to secure a $1.4 million signing bonus six years ago, the Nationals have decided to dip their toes back into the Dominican Republic pipeline and have committed a healthy amount of money to sign another teenage infielder.

The Nationals have signed 16-year-old third baseman Neivy Pilier for $225,000, according to a club source, one of the largest bonuses they've paid to an international free agent since that $1.4 million mistake in 2006 to a young Dominican shortstop who claimed to be named Esmailyn Gonzalez.

Pilier, 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, has "a quick bat with lift and occasional power in his right-handed swing," according to Baseball America. Having just turned 16 on Aug. 1, he has a strong arm to play third base but still needs to refine his footwork.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo -- who ascended to that position after Jim Bowden resigned shortly after the Gonzalez scandal went public in Feb. 2009 -- has stressed the importance of a strong international scouting department. But that department has not given a teenage prospect anything close to that much money during the last three years.

Gonzalez, it turned out, was actually named Carlos Alvarez and was four years older than he claimed. That revelation led to the firing of top Bowden lieutenant Jose Rijo and other team officials in the Dominican Republic, plus the closing of the franchise's facility there (which was owned by Rijo).

Alvarez, now 27, remains in the Nationals organization. He hit .210 in 45 games last season with short-season Class A Auburn and low-Class A Hagerstown, the highest level of the minors he has reached thus far despite the fact he's several years older than almost every other player in his league.

74 comments:

Diz said...

If Hamilton just signed with the Angels, then we could be seeing MM over a 1st a lot next season.

Tcostant said...

The Braves blew it, they could have had Hamilton in CF for an extra $10M/year rather than Upton. Ha ha ha

DaveB said...

Great to see us dipping our toes back into the international market. With the ability to overpay draft choices now dramatically reduced, we need to look to other ways to re-stock the minor league pipeline (especially with younger players, since Rizzo seems to favor college draftees).

JD said...


DaveB,

Rizzo does not favor college draftees; he picked and signed AJ Cole, Robbie Ray and last year's top pick Lucas Giolito. I think Rizzo goes for the best available talent regardless of age when it comes to the draft.

JD said...

Dempster signed with the Red Sox for 2 years. The secondary pitching market should open up as well with: Sanchez, Lohse and EJax on deck followed by the group including John Lannan.

Timothy Folk said...

See ya 2018 kid!! I'll be waiting

DaveB said...

Last year 27 out of 29 signed draftees were college. I'd call that "favoring".

baseballswami said...

I know there is plenty of big news in mlb today, but does anyone know why Denard Span is on his way to DC? Will he be available for interviews this weekend?

JD said...


DaveB,

Yes but the top pick came out of high school.

Eugene in Oregon said...

So $225k is what? The tip that Josh Hamilton will give the clubhouse attendants in LAA next season?

MikeinDC said...

Why is "Carlos Alvarez" still taking up a spot in the organization? Or is it worse to admit failure and release him?

JD said...


MikeinDC,

The Nats have 6 minor league teams. You have to fill the rosters with some warm bodies. Not all of them are consequential.

peric said...

The Braves blew it, they could have had Hamilton in CF for an extra $10M/year rather than Upton. Ha ha ha

Upton's the better fielder and still has ceiling. To do better you'd have to look at McCutchen or Trout not Hamilton methinks.

The Braves knew what they were doing never doubt that.

peric said...

Why is "Carlos Alvarez" still taking up a spot in the organization? Or is it worse to admit failure and release him?

They already paid him. He may be useful as org player. Something is better than nothing.

Water23 said...

DaveB,

Two things -
1) Part of the reason that there were more signings of College players was because they drafted Giolito and he was going for well above slot so they needed easier to sign lower cost players to balance out the first 10 rounds.
2) Later rounds, especially with the new MLB imposed $100k per player signing restriction/penalty, makes it more likely to sign players that should sign instead of those who can wait. And the players that should sign are college seniors and some juniors.

Again, I think most teams will be drafting more college players because of the new MLB/MLBPA agreement.

Water23 said...

MikeinDC,

That is what I say about Maya but peric and JD are correct. The money has been spent and as long as they are untradeable/not troublemakers they may still develop.

NatsLady said...

It looks like the Nats signed a guy last year for $100k so they have not been completely out of the Dominican.

peric said...

NatsJack, and Riz will gladly take the comp pick.

And give praise to the baseball gods for it. They could end up needing that more than LaRoche over the next three years. With Rizzo and Clark driving the bus there should be fewer failures like Smoker, Burgess, and Willems if any at all. So now draft picks actually do have some value.

JayB said...

27 in low A .200 and 40 games....that is not a useful player...that is vengeance by Ted...

baseballswami said...

Everyone was freaking out last year when the angels signed pujols and cj wilson and then the Marlins signed multiple players. Neither team made it to the post season. It's risky to buy a collection of players and have them turn out to be a team.

JD said...


Swami,

And they still have to pay Vernon Wells $21 mil next year. And does anybody really trust Josh Hamilton to stay healthy, clean and productive for the duration of the contract?

I dunno. There's always someone who thinks they can just throw money at their problems.

DaveB said...

Water & JD,
I wasn't arguing that Rizzo never drafted HS players, or that he was doing anything wrong in terms of who he was drafting. I was just saying that international signees offer another source of talent (especially younger players) that can supplement the draft. Other teams have been gotten a much bigger percentage of their top prospects from overseas (e.g., Texas), so it is good to see that Nats looking that way again after the Smiley debacle.

JD said...


DaveB,

And I completely agree with your conclusions.

MicheleS said...

Sounds Like Anibal Sanchez is going to the Cubs

hiramhover said...

Off topic, but I love this reasoning from Jon Heyman about Josh Hamilton:

"hamilton got fair deal at $125/5. certainly not out of whack considering pujols got almost double last yr from same team."

In other words: as gross overpays by the Angels go, this looks pretty good.

JD said...


MichelleS,

Do you have any deal details?

Positively Half St. said...

I am inordinately excited about this. I hope that he turns out to be great, but more than that I hope that a long string of similar signings follows. We shouldn't have high draft picks for a while, so the team should replenish the minor league system this way until an international draft is established.

+1/2St.

MicheleS said...

JD.. Nothing definite yet. Rosenthal has it at 5/75

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I'm ticked that the Nats didn't snag Anibal at that deal.

JD said...


Wow. 5 years for a 'B' level pitcher?

JD said...


Ghost,

You just can't give pitchers so many years. It's bound to bite you in the butt. I also think that when healthy Haren is a better pitcher than Sanchez.

Feel Wood said...

Hamilton signs with the Angels? Meh. Here's the real big news of the day. Kristina Akra is #4 on the list of the 25 Hottest Sideline Reporters Right Now.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD, I disagree. Anibal has #2 potential and for the Nats the bonus was his stealth ERA in Nats Park. Certainly no guarantee of future performance.

JD said...


Ghost,

Also; if we commit that kind of years and money we are gonna be in trouble when it's time to sign Stras and Harper. I much prefer the 1 year deals to bridge the gap until the next young pitcher is ready.

flynnie said...

How do they know he's 16? Count the inner rings like a tree trunk?

NatsJack in Florida said...

I'n with you Feel. Have they announced whether she's coming back?

baseballswami said...

The Angels are boxing themselves right into a Philly/Yankees -type corner in just a few years. Lots of old guys with long deals.Your team goes from veteran to just old really quickly. Even though I would love to see Adam in a Nats uniform again in 2013, I understand the need to keep contract money freed up to keep JZim, Stras and other young'uns when the time comes.

flynnie said...

5c3cd06e-cef8-11e1-abe6-000bcdcb2996 said...
As an aside, LaRoche is a boring guy. Compare him to Morse and Gio. Move Morse to first, let ALR walk, and know that it was the best decision.

December 13, 2012 3:06 PM

He is dazzling when fielding his position. And those homers have a majestic arc.

natsfan1a said...

I don't know. The older I get, the more I like boring. Boring is good. :-)

natsfan1a said...

I also love how he fields his position, and his swing. Also, when Drake comes out to hug him on multidinger days. Geez, how many sides of beef do we have to buy to get the guy to stay? ;-)

Alphabet Soup Erik said...

Let's see...who would I rather have...Josh Hamilton at $25 million/year for the next 5 years or Jayson Werth at $20 million/year for the next 5 years? That's a thinker!!! I guess Werth helped us sign all of those big free agents like DeRosa, Xavier Nady, Stairs, Edwin Jackson, and LaRoche. Looks like Werth turning the Nats into a winner is having a huge influence on Adam. I love how everybody turns into a financial advisor after another team signs a good player. I guess every player signed over the past 3 years except for Werth is an overpay. I can't wait for the discussions when Strasburg, Harper, Desmond, Zimmermann, and Gio are all due $100-300 million contracts.

MicheleS said...

JD.. Anabel is playing a game... seems he could be using the Cubs offer to get the Tigers to up their bid...

peric said...

Other teams have been gotten a much bigger percentage of their top prospects from overseas (e.g., Texas), so it is good to see that Nats looking that way again after the Smiley debacle.

They absolutely must ... given the new "block Nats overslot signings" draft rules by Selig. The problem with that is that Selig is threatening to include these signings as a part of the draft cap him impose because of the Nats canny forays into overslot payments to high school/low pick college players like Nate Karns, AJ Cole and Robbie Ray. That strategy is clearly returning huge dividends.

If the incorporate the DR + Asia into the draft cap as they did Puerto Rico? The talent wells could dry up on baseball. Fewer good athletes will be interested in honing their baseball skills in those places.

peric said...

I can't wait for the discussions when Strasburg, Harper, Desmond, Zimmermann, and Gio are all due $100-300 million contracts.

And why the Nats went for Span over Upton or Bourn. Partially why LaRoche for only 2 years. They plan on trying to sign all of them. If they don't succeed? Enter Lucas Giolito for one. And decent International signings ...

Feel Wood said...

NatsJack, the poll I saw did not comment on the future employment prospects of the ladies in question, only their hotness. BTW, Britt McHenry of Channel 7 was #6. AFAIK the only sideline reporting she does is Redskins preseason games. And sadly (or maybe not) Debbi Taylor is nowhere to be found on this list.

peric said...

I'n with you Feel. Have they announced whether she's coming back?

They must get her back. She was a good sport in that she was willing to risk becoming a part of the surprise gatorade showers ... even if it meant possibly doing a wet-t-shirt contest imitation ala' the Button in Ft. Lauderdale. She's young, kind of perky, high energy, fits the team's personality extremely well.

peric said...

I also love how he fields his position, and his swing. Also, when Drake comes out to hug him on multidinger days. Geez, how many sides of beef do we have to buy to get the guy to stay? ;-)

Dallas has JR Ewing, George W. Bush, and lots of great country music which ALR is fond of. Drake could grow up to be a cowboy ... fan ...

flynnie said...

NatsFan1a said:

I don't know. The older I get, the more I like boring. Boring is good. :-)

December 13, 2012 6:46 PM

A Spanish blessing: "May no new thing arise."

A Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times."

peric said...

I'm ticked that the Nats didn't snag Anibal at that deal.

Epstein and Hoyer are pretty stealthy and they're no slouches. There's the magic of playing at Wriggly Field. And with those two guys the Cubs won't be down for very long.

baseballswami said...

Even in the off season, I am grateful for the no-drama Nats. Especially when I see the soap operas going on all around mlb.

peric said...
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peric said...
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peric said...

Of course ... you just never know with Rizzo perhaps he goes back to the Marlins and tries to snag Logan Morrison for first base? He's not a free agent until 2017. In fact I'm surprised that didn't happen if everyone is so convinced Ryan Zimmerman is staying at third base. The 'Fins aren't building around LoMo they're building around Stanton so ...

I suspect the left-handed power will have to be centered in the outfield in addition to Bryce Harper. Other than 1 switch hitter the Nats will feature all right-handed bats all perennial gold glove candidates in the infield.

baseballswami said...

Starting to see some pics of Ross and Craig on the twitter-verse aboard an aircraft carrier. Warms my heart.

hiramhover said...

Peric

The marlins don't build around players--they tear down around them

baseballswami said...

"You've been traded to the Marlins" - a players worst nightmare???

baseballswami said...

So Sean Burnett shouldn't have to worry about his new offense scoring runs?

BigCat said...

Kristina gets mine, and Manassas Nats Fan vote for #1. She is an absolute knockout. i hope she comes back

peric said...
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Laddie Blah Blah said...

Navy Pee-lee-ay.

Billy Burns.

Will Piwnica-Worms.

Hope they all make it, just to see if Davey can fill out the lineup card, if the umps can read it, and to listen to Carp and SP do the play-by-play.

peric said...

A the end of the two year LaRoche contract Jayson Werth hits sweet 36 where the downhill slide can be precipitous. Seems like he might keep most of his fielding prowess but hitting? Staying healthy an entire 162 game season? "Not on your life", as Riggleman would say that is when Werth's role probably would be redefined and the Nats would be paying him 21 million to come off the bench. So, at that point the Nats should have a young, and very talented starting outfield.

SCNatsFan said...

At this point any international signing is a good signing

waddu eye no said...

Looking forward to more "akra-batics" myself

(straight to #4 on the top 25 most dumbass insider comments of the off season. I know MY strengths)

waddu eye no said...

Looking forward to more "akra-batics" myself

(straight to #4 on the top 25 most dumbass insider comments of the off season. I know MY strengths)

NatsJack in Florida said...

50% of sabremetris suks.

NatsJack in Florida said...

I meant sucks, but you get the drift

NatsLady said...

MLB seeks buyer for Nationals-Orioles TV rights in bid to end MASN rights fee dispute. http://wapo.st/Z4dPzM

NatsJack in Florida said...

Pabst Blue Ribbon 16 oz.'s for $2.00. Playing trivia at the bar.

God get to Spring Training IMMEDIATELY!

Eugene in Oregon said...

NatsLady: Saw that; hope it moves forward and happens quickly. But, in the meantime, I also hope MLB has the decency, integrity, and enough gumption to enforce the current contract (i.e., an increase in fees at the five-year mark to something akin to market rate) for the 2013 season. At least as I understand it.

c715e5d6-9d22-11e1-a89a-000f20980440 said...

Ah, nothing like returning from two weeks on the road for business, checking in to MLB.com to see the latest news, and seeing the headline:

"Fading Phillies: Age, injuries, finances taking their toll on NL powerhouse

By Stan McNeal Sporting News

Consider the Philadelphia Phillies’ chances in 2013 and this is what comes to mind: Getting old is no fun. Then this: Man, that team got old in a hurry."

Warmed the cockles of my heart while doing the laundry and throwing away the year-end mail.

ArVAFan










Text size AAA


Consider the Philadelphia Phillies’ chances in 2013 and this is what comes to mind: Getting old is no fun. Then this: Man, that team got old in a hurry.

hiramhover said...

decency, integrity ... gumption

Are these words anyone associates with Bud Selig? Anyone?

Eugene in Oregon said...

hh: Exactly -- that's why I wrote 'hope' and not 'expect'.

mick said...

why am I inclined to think of the Who's... "teenage wasteland" lol

Faraz Shaikh said...

so Rangers will target ALR now? Kinsler to OF, Profar to 2B (or Andrus). Still keeps that 1b open for them I suppose which ALR can fill. ALR also provides them that LH power bat they lack unless they think mitch moreland can do the job for them.

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