Carlos Lugo (baseball)
Carlos David Alvarez (Lugo) (born November 25, 1985) is a shortstop for the Washington Nationals organization. He was known as Esmailyn Gonzalez until February 2009, when Sports Illustrated published an investigation that proved he had used fraudulent documents to convince the Nationals that he was several years younger than his true age.
On July 2, 2006, the Nationals signed Alvarez, then known as Esmailyn Gonzalez, as an international free agent. He was given a $1.4 million signing bonus. The Nationals were given information that Alvarez was born on September 21, 1989, a date which the MLB office confirmed for at least three interested teams, including Washington. He made his debut for the Gulf Coast League Nationals in 2007.
Name/birth date controversy
Soon after Alvarez/Gonzalez was signed by the Nationals, team officials asked MLB to do some further checking in response to concerns about irregularities in his signing. MLB initially determined there was nothing out of the ordinary. However, on February 17, 2009, Sports Illustrated uncovered evidence that Gonzalez's real name was Carlos Alvarez Lugo, and he was born in 1985 rather than 1989.
In a press conference later that day, Nationals president Stan Kasten confirmed that Gonzalez's real name was indeed Carlos Alvarez Lugo. A visibly angry Kasten said the Nationals had been victimized by "a deliberate, premeditated fraud" involving several people and a raft of falsified records. He added that he'd asked for a further inquiry in response to revelations that Chicago White Sox officials were skimming off the signing bonuses of Latino prospects. He vowed the Nationals would seek legal and financial recourse, but investigations are still ongoing as of the start of the 2011 season.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation soon began investigating Nationals general manager Jim Bowden, suspecting that he has skimmed bonus money from international signees since 1994, when he was with the Cincinnati Reds. Bowden was subsequently forced to resign as a result of the affair. Nothing ever came of that investigation.