The curious tale of Edward Salcedo has taken another strange turn.
Salcedo, a shortstop out of the Dominican Republic, was regarded as one of the hottest prospects coming out of last summer's international signing period, and at least one Dominican newspaper reported him signing a lucrative deal with the Indians.
But there still has been no official announcement of him reaching a deal with a major league organization. Adding to the intrigue is Major League Baseball's recent firing of three investigators in the Dominican, including one who was working on Salcedo's case.
All MLB says at this point is that it is still investigating the case of Salcedo to establish the validity of his documents and confirm that he is 16 years old. At least four international scouts, speaking anonymously, told Baseball America they believe Salcedo is older than 16.
"I've heard the rumors myself," said Ronaldo Peralta, MLB's manager for Latin American operations. "A lot of word spread around, but the truth is that we haven't finished the investigation process of his documentation. We cannot tell you if his documents are in order or not.
"When you sign a player for a lot of money, there's going to be jealousy, people spreading all kinds of rumors, but the truth is that we haven't finished, we haven't completed the process."
"I don't think there has been any confusion," said Scott Boras, who is representing Salcedo. "The information we have from everyone involved is that there's no dispute into Edward's age. There were some issues I think regarding the lineage and the number of family members and the things of that nature, but those are standard investigatory steps that they take. And it's been verified that Edward's age and documents are in fact his documents.
"The documents they we've been presented with and presented to Major League Baseball establish that he's 16 years old," Boras added. "We have not gotten any information from MLB to suggest that these documents are not in order."
The firing of three investigators by MLB has ignited the rumor mill in the international scouting community, but Peralta said the two things are not connected.
"This had nothing to do with the Salcedo case. It had nothing to do with it," Peralta said. "The Salcedo case has nothing to do with these three guys not working for us any more.
"There's a lot of jealousy. People enjoy creating these kinds of rumors and creating this mysterious atmosphere. The other two were not even close to that case."
Though no one will confirm whether Salcedo has agreed to a contract with a major league team, an investigation to verify the birth date and identification of a player from Latin America is not uncommon, especially with the potential dollars at stake.
"We do an investigation that requires us to visit the hospital where the player was born, the school record and the offices of the government agencies of the (Dominican Republic) that control the birth certificates," Peralta said. "We go to all those places, and then we do a little bit of field work, according to what we find, and we visit those places."
El Caribe, a newspaper in the Dominican Republic, reported in February that Salcedo had signed with the Indians for $2.9 million. The newspaper also featured a picture of Salcedo posing in Indians attire. Indians officials, however, have denied making any deal with Salcedo.
"The Cleveland Indians as a matter of policy and professional courtesy do not comment on players who are not members of our organization," Indians assistant general manager John Mirabelli wrote in an e-mail.
Baseball America previously reported that several sources said Salcedo had rejected a $2.5 million offer from the Giants. The Diamondbacks have also been rumored to have interest in Salcedo. That level of interest could significantly diminish if Salcedo proves to be older—perhaps significantly older.
"When a guy's older, a lot of times that changes your projections on him," said one international scouting director. "If you've got a guy doing things at a younger age, it leads you to believe that he'll improve more as he matures, but if he's older, the margin for projection is smaller."