Sandy Alderson hired for Dominican
Sandy Alderson, the former MLB vice president for baseball operations, has been rehired by the commissioner's office as a consultant whose responsibility will be to reform the league's Dominican Republic office.
Alderson's major goal in the Dominican will be in further preventing age and identity fraud and performance-enhancing drug use, which has long tainted the player-signing system in Latin America.
Among Alderson's tasks will likely be a reorganization of the Dominican office's current power structure. Ronaldo Perlata heads the Dominican office, but his duties may change since Alderson is expected to make new hires.
Alderson will outline part of his plan in a Thursday news conference in New York.
Alderson is a well-respected former baseball executive with the Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres with almost 25 years of travels to the Dominican. He worked as the executive vice president for baseball operations for MLB from 1998-2005.
In that role, Alderson helped to establish MLB's Dominican office, and also developed the structure for the investigative process that MLB uses to verify the age and identity of players signed from Latin America.
Last year, Alderson was tapped by MLB to deliver a report about possible solutions to the problems of the player-signing system in the Dominican. Alderson presented his report at the owners meetings in November.
"The goal was to identify all the problem areas and to identify possible solutions and the parties who might contribute to the solutions such as MLB, the 30 clubs, the Dominican Republic government, the buscones [Dominican trainers/agents] as a group and the U.S. Government consulate," Alderson said in an interview with ESPN The Magazine while at the winter meetings in Indianapolis in December. "I wouldn't say there were a lot of surprises. I'd say a pleasant surprise was what was being done by the investigative unit to prevent identity fraud."
It's likely Alderson's appointment to head MLB's efforts in the Dominican will result in the implementation of some of the suggestions from his report.
The original intent of the MLB Dominican office was simply to serve as a resource for teams with academies in Latin America. But as age and identity fraud became more prevalent, the office was called upon to investigate players and to make determinations on the validity of the player's identification paperwork, which many critics have said is a duty the office is not equipped to handle.
In 2008, MLB -- spurred by the Mitchell report -- established a department of investigations, which included assigning an investigator to exclusively handle probes in Latin America.
In the past year, the commissioner's office, as a result of the MLB Dominican investigative unit's work, has suspended several top prospects including Rafael DePaula (age), Damian Arredondo (PED use and age), Duanel Jones (PED), Felix Perez (age), and Carlos Matias (age).
In his new position, Alderson also willl control that Latin American investigative wing.
Jorge Arangure Jr. is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.
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