Visa Scam Slams Yankee Prospects

Every year it is an issue, and this year is no different. Visas are a constant problem for Dominican players, but never before have the Yankees been hit so hard, with at least three of their prospects suspected in the scam. In a special PinstripesPlus.com report, we identify the three reported offenders.

Without the proper details in line, it is too early to make any definitive statements on any of the players involved. Not to mention, details are still quite fuzzy on what exactly went on in the first place. But, some things are facts. For starters, when there are pitchers that are nowhere to be found in spring training, you begin to realize that there is something wrong. As of now, there are four pitchers that are missing in action in Yankee Minor League Spring Training camp, three of which we have identified.

With his problems of the past, we may have seen this coming. Offender number one is Maximo Nelson. Maximo is a big, right handed pitcher who formerly went by the name "Willy Pie," but pitched in the Gulf Coast League in 2004, experiencing big time success. The same goes for offender number two. Visa problems in the past, visa problems once again here in 2005. This time, the consequences are serious. Acquired by the Yankees in the trade that sent Mike Lamb to Houston, Juan De Leon is the second Yankee farm hand that has reportedly been nabbed in this incident. Named above are two arms that not only produce live fastballs but could very well have had futures ahead of them in the big leagues. The third offender is by no means a household name in the prospect world, but nevertheless, he was involved. Number three is another right handed pitcher, Miguel Aguero. Again, this report is in the preliminary stages of becoming fact but these are the three that reportedly are involved.

Before speaking any further about the actual players, how about taking a look at just what the scam was that they were involved in. The United States Embassy in the Dominican Republic recently proclaimed that 10 minor league baseball players who were nailed in a fraudulent marriage scam in the offseason have been banned from receiving visas altogether. In other words, the players' careers in the United States may very well be over for good. To put the multi-player scheme into a nutshell, it involved players being paid $5,000-$7,000 to get married, with their new wife receiving the visa. The couple do not know each other and divorce soon after their arrival on U.S. soil. The player then is suppose to forget the incident and move on with his career. To put it simply, these actions are a direct violation of United States immigration laws and MLB's Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Sandy Alderson recently stated that the players likely will be losing their opportunities to play in the U.S.

In the past, the embassy has always worked hand-in-hand with Major League Baseball to ensure that qualified players reach the U.S. to pursue the opportunity to play professional baseball. However, when something like this occurs, it only hurts the relationship. In fact, it is entirely too bad that these players' careers are basically over, but if they only would have stuck to following the immigration laws, everything would have worked out just fine.

We have been told that there may possibly be a fourth Yankee player involved, but his name is also yet to be revealed. The Yankees are perhaps the hardest hit organization by this scandal, but we can only hope they don't lose any more promising young players due to careless life mistakes.

This report is still subject to change and PinstripesPlus.com will continue to cover this developing story as more information becomes available to us.

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