7/21/2008 01:24:00 AM

The Exploitation Of Young Dominican Baseball Prospects

Posted by Mark McCray |

Christian Red/New York Daily News:

Last week, the Dominican newspaper El Caribe reported that Melky Cabrera had not received his entire $175,000 bonus for signing with the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent in 2001.

They say that he has been a victim of the skimming and kickback scam that the FBI and Major League Baseball authorities are currently investigating in the Dominican Republic.

The scandal has already cost three White Sox officials their jobs earlier this spring and has dragged former Dominican star pitcher Jose Rijo and Nationals general manager Jim Bowden into the news as well.

Joined by Cabrera's mother, Maria Teresa Astacio, Yankee Latin Field coordinator Victor Mata and Carlos RĂ­os met with El Caribe on Wednesday and were photographed holding a copy of the contract Cabrera signed.

The newspaper also displayed a photo of a cashed check for $61,250 addressed to Melky Astacio Cabrera. Astacio said in the article that she was surprised by the report, because she was present when the deal was finalized.

"The person that signed that contract was me," Astacio said. "All the money was given to me and no one else."

Mata says he was unauthorized to show the same documents to the Daily News, and a request to Yankees VP of baseball operations Mark Newman - who is based in Tampa - was not granted.

"We're not making any comment on the matter," Newman told The News. "I'm not sure how that whole story started."

Cabrera's agent Dominic Torres says he feels like the issue was closed and says that Cabrera is unfazed by the recent flap. But Torres says the problems that young Dominican prospects face when they deal with street agents - known as "buscones" - is a real one.

"It happens a lot. It's definitely a problem," says Torres.

Click here to read more on what is going on in the Dominican...

Someday, the creation of a worldwide amateur player draft could have a large impact on the talent pool the larger market teams like the Yankees and the Mets are currently drawing from.

**If you are interested in reading more about a day in the life of a player in the Dominican, please visit Brett Garamella's Blog. He spends a few days at the Cub's Boca Chica Academy. Good read, check it out.**

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