23 September 2011
In a bizarre season where everything that could go wrong seemingly has gone wrong for the Marlins, it didn't seem like their should be any real news for the Marlins until their final game at Sun Life Stadium next Wednesday. However, then yesterday happened and it turns out that Leo Nunez may not be who he says he is.
Yesterday afternoon it was reported that Leo Nunez would be placed on the Marlins restricted list so that he could go home the the Domanican Republic, but no reason was given. Then as time went by the story for the Associated Press came out that the reason for him leaving is because 28-year old Leo Nunez may actually be a 29-year old named Juan Carlos Oviedo. Nunez will miss the Marlins remaining six games.
While this does not detract from the great season that Leo has been having this year, he has a 1.21 ERA with a career high 36 saves, but it just goes to the list of calamities the Marlins have gone threw in 2011. Marlins, who the story has claimed have know about this Leo Nunez situation for over a month, had a good chance to trade him at the trade deadline but chose not to trade him and it was believed that the Marlins would keep him as their closer for another season. This is despite the fact that Nunez, in his last year of arbitration, is expected to receive around six million dollars next year, a 60% raise from this year.
This story is only a big deal as Leo is somewhat of a known commodity in baseball, but this is not that uncommon, especially among players born in the Dominican Republic. Many foreign born players will give fake names and birth certificates so that they appear younger to baseball scouts so that they will appear to be a better prospect than they would other wise. Baseball America in March of 2003 had a report saying their had been 540 reported cases like this though out different levels of baseball, and in 2009 baseball investigated 42 cases of Domincan players who have supposedly lied about their names and/or ages. This is not even the first time with the Marlins as in 2000 the Marlins signed a Domanican pitcher named Juan Nova who they thought was 16-years old, but he turned out to really be an 18-year old named Carlos Martinez. Martinez eventually went on to play some in the Majors with the Marlins in 2006.
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