Dominican authorities have charged a former contract investigator used by Major League Baseball with accepting a $25,000 bribe in exchange for conspiring with a trainer and a scout to fraudulently pass the player through his background investigation.
Though the police did not identify the player, Baseball America has learned that player is Padres right fielder Yoan Alcantara, who signed for $135,000 on July 2, 2009 and ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Rookie-level Arizona League this year.
The investigator was Kleiber Miguel Bruno Gonzalez, who was not a full-time MLB staff member but worked on cases for the league as a contractor. Alcantara’s investigation was done prior to MLB’s department of investigations taking over background checks for Latin American signings.
Alcantara hit .348/.367/.586 in 50 games in the AZL this year, showing an extremely aggressive approach but promising tools with his power, arm strength and solid-average speed. By his listed Nov. 20, 1992 date of birth, Alcantara is 18. His real age and identity are not known, though rumors of his age being false have followed him since he signed.
According to an Associated Press report, Dominican authorities said Alcantara spent two years living with a woman who was pretending to be his mother. The United States Embassy also assisted with the investigation.
A Padres official could not be reached tonight for comment. An MLB official said the league could not get into details of the case but noted that MLB now employs stricter oversight for its investigators, including lie-detector tests and crosschecking. Dominican police did not identify the name of the trainer or scout in question, and BA could not confirm the identity of Alcantara’s trainer.
Alcantara is the third known major player involved in age fraud signed by the Padres after passing a background investigation in recent years. In August 2008, the Padres gave $325,000 to a Dominican third baseman presenting himself as 16-year-old Jefri Pena. In June 2009, BA reported that MLB suspended Pena for a year after discovering he had lied about his identity and reduced his age by four years. Last week, BA reported that the Dominican shortstop the Padres signed for $1 million in 2008 as Alvaro Aristy is really Jorge Leandro Guzman and had falsified his age by nearly two and a half years.