The future of the Los Angeles Dodgers may be going from a sunny California afternoon to the darkest of clouds over the City of Angels.
According to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, the Dodgers have violated international free agency rules and could be facing a similar punishment that was handed to the Atlanta Braves in November 2017. The Braves’ penalties included forfeiting 13 of their international prospects while former general manager John Coppolella was banned for baseball for life. In addition, the Braves were “prohibited from signing any international player for more than $10,000 during the 2019-20 signing period. Also, the team’s international signing bonus pool for the 2020-21 signing period will be reduced by 50 percent.”
This could be an extraordinary blow to a farm system that Bleacher Report ranks as the eighth best in MLB. It’s unknown how far back the investigation stems from but it’s notable that Keibert Ruiz, Dennis Santana, Yadier Alvarez, Diego Cartaya, Edwin Uceta, Cristian Santana, Starling Heredia, Robinson Ortiz and Omar Estevez – all featured on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Prospect List – were international free agent signees at one point.
Another subplot to watch could be Gabe Kapler‘s potential involvement: the current Philadelphia Phillies manager was the Dodgers’ Director of Player Development from 2014 until he accepted the managerial role on October 2017.
More on this story as it develops.
Dan Federico is a co-founder of Bronx to Bushville.