Beltre's request for free agency denied

Click to follow

Baseball refused to grant a Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman free agency today, a move that will certainly lead to a grievance from the players' association.

Baseball refused to grant a Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman free agency today, a move that will certainly lead to a grievance from the players' association.

Dominican Republic native Adrian Beltre and his agent claimed the Dodgers signed him in 1994 when he was 15, a year younger than baseball's rules permit.

They petitioned commissioner Bud Selig for free agency, but he refused, instead deciding to both fine the Dodgers and ordering the team to pay Beltre the difference "between the initial bonus and the amount he would have received a year later."

While Selig didn't disclose figures, he fined the team $50,000, according to a high-ranking baseball official who spoke on the condition he not be identified. The Dodgers were ordered to pay Beltre $48,500, the source said.

In addition, Selig banned the Dodgers from scouting or signing any amateur players who reside in the Dominican Republic for one year, and told the team it must close its Dominican Republic training camp at Campo Las Palmas for one year.

Selig also sanctioned two Dodgers employees involved in the matter. While Selig didn't identify them, they are Ralph Avila, the semi-retired vice president of Campo Las Palmas, and Pablo Peguero, the scout who signed Beltre, according to a team official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Beltre's lawyer, who claimed Beltre learned of the age limit for signings just this year, had said he planned to have the union file a grievance and ask for an expedited hearing.

The Dodgers admitted during the investigation they had purposely falsified Beltre's birth date and signed the player in 1994 when he was 15. In the team's latest press guide, Beltre's birth date was listed as April 7, 1978, when in reality, it was April 7, 1979.

The investigation concluded that Beltre and/or his representatives "likely were aware at the time of the signing that he was not of sufficient age."

Beltre hit .275 with 15 homers, 67 RBIs and 18 steals this year in his first full season with the Dodgers.

Earlier this year, the team lost two Cuban players because they signed before they were 16. Infielder Juan Diaz and outfielder Josue Perez were declared free agents by Selig, and the Dodgers were fined $200,000. Perez later signed with Philadelphia for $850,000.

Comments