Juan Carlos Oviedo, the Miami Marlins reliever formerly known as Leo Nunez, has been suspended for eight weeks by MLB after falsifying his age and committing identity fraud.
This offseason, it was revealed that Nunez was actually Oviedo, and was a year older than his listed age. He hasn’t thrown a pitch this year, and has spent the offseason attempting to secure a visa and clear up his immigration status, which was finalized last week.
With his suspension, Oviedo cannot participate in any major league activities, but can participate in extended spring training for the Marlins to get into game shape. He’ll be eligible to return on July 23rd, which will make Oviedo a de facto trade deadline acquisition for the Marlins.
My major gripe with this suspension is that Oviedo has already missed seven weeks of the regular season, plus the entirety of Spring Training. He wasn’t getting paid for that. Isn’t that massive chunk of time away from the game enough of a suspension? Now, he’s getting another eight weeks off. Oviedo has a $6 million salary this year, and by the time he comes back, he’ll have forfeited nearly 2/3 of that…or what a two-time steroid abuser not named Manny Ramirez is forced to give up. That just doesn’t seem fair at the end of the day. People will point to Nunez and his identity fraud as something that also wasn’t fair, but before this year, there were very rarely additional penalties from the league when this situation happened, aside from the initial time on the restricted list.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez initially reported in April that Oviedo and Indians pitcher Roberto Hernandez, formerly Fausto Carmona, would likely be suspended for six weeks once they received their visas. This is apparently due to an agreement between MLB and the US State Department, and in my mind, it’s just an attempt by both to cover their asses after years of counterfeit paperwork bringing young prospects from Latin America into major league organizations. My point is that it’s unfair to suddenly start penalizing guys for something that has been going on for years, and only happened as frequently as it did because MLB and the US State Department were lazy and sloppy with their work.
Photo courtesy of Daylife.com