Marlins closer Leo Nunez was placed on the restricted list by the Marlins.
At first there were the requisite snide comments about the Marlins being part of the problem; the questions as to why everyone with the Marlins misbehaves; wondering if they have a cage set-up at the new ballpark and other witticisms.
That one was mine and I didn’t say it publicly because—contrary to the popular notion that I’m a loose cannon—I think before I speak, tweet, write, link, comment.
Well, I do now anyway.
But as it turns out the problem isn’t any behavioral issue as it was with Logan Morrison, Mike Cameron and Wes Helms; it’s that Nunez has been playing under an assumed name and his real name is apparently Juan Carlos Oviedo and he’s a year older than “Nunez’s” age of 28.
The Marlins are out of contention and have been since the summer; his absence is not an issue. But what of the teams that have been affected by “Nunez” participating in games after the Marlins knew that Leo Nunez wasn’t Leo Nunez? Could the Braves—who have had their Wild Card hopes damaged by losing games to the Marlins—lodge a complaint that a player’s illegal status in the country automatically rendered him ineligible to play in the big leagues?
This could create a disaster of epic proportions if legal issues interfere with a player right to participate in games. There’s absolutely nothing that can be done about it after-the-fact in terms of game results, but is MLB going to let the Marlins get away with keeping this a secret (unless MLB knew about it and I can’t imagine they did) and having “Nunez” pitch when he wasn’t “Nunez”?
He wasn’t a legal worker in the United States.
Isn’t the failure to disclose the information, nor putting “Nunez” on the restricted list months ago, somehow sabotaging the validity of games he pitched after this was discovered?
If the Marlins knew about this, why didn’t they handle it immediately?
This isn’t the NCAA. Scholarships, bowl victories and other sanctions aren’t part of the process—they can’t wipe out the games in which “Nunez” played after the club supposedly knew about his status; but the Marlins can certainly be punished for this breach of competitive legitimacy.
This isn’t the decision to send a misbehaving player to the minors; it’s not the releasing of two finished veterans; it’s a willful act of criminality by “Nunez” and perhaps a coverup by the Marlins.
I’m curious to see what MLB does about it, if anything at all.
Bud Selig had better head to his rotary phone and handle this decisively or it’s going to explode into a political and competitive football.
He can barely handle baseball as it is; the last thing he needs is a football.