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Marlins plan to tender contract to Juan Carlos Oviedo

Dec 5, 2011, 4:20 PM EDT

leo nunez getty Getty Images

After the Marlins signed new closer Heath Bell to a three-year, $27 million contract, many assumed that they would non-tender Juan Carlos Oviedo before the December 12 deadline. That’s not the case, apparently.

Aside from amusingly referring to Oviedo as “the closer formerly known as Leo Nunez,” Marlins president Larry Beinfest said this afternoon (via Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com) that they still plan to tender him a contract. Oviedo is currently working through legal issues in the Dominican Republic after admitting in September to faking his identity.

Oviedo figures to make $5-6 million as a fourth-time arbitration-eligible player, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Marlins to keep him around as an overpriced set-up man. The most likely scenario is that they’ll attempt to see if there are any takers before next week’s non-tender deadline. And given his complicated legal status and the number of free agent closer-types available, that’s probably a longshot.

  1. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    I apologize for my ignorance; what is the point in lying about your name to play in MLB? Would he have had no chance to make it if he used his real name? And if so, why? This whole situation has baffled me.

    • shawndc04 - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:59 PM

      I wondered about that as well. In doing a little research, it appears that he was 17 when the 16 year olds were getting the MLB signings. Wanting a contract, he assumed the name and age of a younger friend and was able to keep it a secret because no one asked and because few people actually knew his true full name.

      • unclemosesgreen - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:36 PM

        Same exact reason that every Latin American prospect used to have doctored birthdates. When rules became more stringent and doctored paperwork wouldn’t work anymore, they had to start using the identities of actual younger people to keep running this scam.

        The younger the prospect, the more valuable, as players who show their tools at earlier age and against older competition turn into professionals at a higher rate than others.

        The buscadores were 100% in charge of the scam, none of the kids thought it up for themselves. Since the buscadores were (are) paid by a (ridiculously high) percentage of the prospects’ contract earnings, they did it to make more money, plain and simple.

  2. Kevin S. - Dec 5, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    Ha. Saw the headline, clicked on the article solely to yell at you for passing on the opportunity to call him “The artist formerly known as Leo Nunez,” and discovered you weren’t actually asleep at the wheel. Good job, DJ.

  3. spudchukar - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    So now they can trade him, and he becomes the first legitimate “player to be named later”.

    • Old Gator - Dec 5, 2011 at 5:56 PM

      LMFA.

      Ackcherley Juan Leo Carlos de Santander Jesus Nunez Oviedo would make a great setup man. And you know what? He could be ejected for arguing calls as Juan Carlos Oviedo, change his uniform, and then be called in from the bullpen as Leo Nunez to take his own place. It’d be like having a 26th man on the roster without incurring the extra salary.

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