MLB Tabs Alderson To Reform Dominican
Longtime executive has age verification, club conduct on long agenda
Major League Baseball hired Sandy Alderson as a consultant to focus on reforming the operations in the Dominican Republic.
As chairman of a committee last year that included several general managers, Alderson submitted a report in September to commissioner Bud Selig with recommendations on how to reform the league's operations in the Dominican Republic. Alderson will now help implement those recommendations, which he said will eventually have an impact on other Latin American countries as well.
Alderson, the Padres' CEO from 2005 until March 2009, was MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations from September 1998-April 2005, and previously spent 17 years with the Athletics, including 1983-1997 as general manager. He highlighted four key areas that MLB will attempt to reform:
• Age and identity fraud
• The use of performance-enhancing drugs
• How teams conduct business in the Dominican Republic
• Internal structure and oversight of operations of MLB's office in Santo Domingo
"The problems are broad and significant, but we certainly can improve how we operate there and come a long way toward, not eradicating, but significantly reducing these kinds of frauds and abuses," Alderson said.
Alderson has started by dismissing Ronaldo Peralta, who headed the office in the Dominican Republic and had been there since 2001. The office opened in 2000, but the responsibilities of the office have developed significantly over the last decade.
MLB has already devoted more resources—both in terms of an increased budget and additional personnel—to its operations in the Dominican Republic, including the department of investigations, which is responsible for conducting players' background checks.
However, MLB can do little to regulate buscones, the independent workers who train and represent players in Latin America.
"That will certainly be a focus of our attention," Alderson said. "In some ways, the buscones are a positive aspect of the development of players and talent in the Dominican Republic, but the way in which that development takes place is so fraught with massive abuse that we decided what we had to do was to convince them that they could be a part of the solution."
Teams have also come under criticism for their behavior in Latin America. Several scouts and high-ranking executives have been fired and involved in an FBI investigation for skimming money from prospects' bonuses.
"There's no question there has to be a different mindset," Alderson said. "What happens is the competition is so fierce in the Dominican Republic for the talent there, and the market there is so loose, that these kinds of abuses result—it shouldn't be a surprise to anybody."