No Time For Snark
This is rather bizarre, in a sense it’s a personal matter and tangential to the team itself, but at the same time it has potential implications for roster and clubhouse dynamics. The Seattle Times is reporting that Carlos Peguero’s wife (who is, incidentally, the daughter of Pedro Borbon, one of the let’s say more unusual characters in baseball history) has been charged in federal court with wire fraud based on alleged misuse of a debit card belonging to King Felix’s wife. Got that?
Okay, to begin with, innocent until proven guilty, let’s respect that. The charges are based on purchases made in 2012, although it’s not clear from the report when the issue was discovered. It’s before Felix signed his latest extension, although he was already making enough money that $180,000 from Saks could be overlooked. I’m sure he knows some of the dangers for people that wealthy in determining whom to trust, and has professionals managing his finances as the story indicates, but normally you would be most wary of outsiders trying to weasel in, not necessarily people already connected to the team. Being human, players can have their performance affected by family issues, not that Felix would likely ever admit to this as an excuse. Statistically, of course, it’s impossible to evaluate because you can’t verify or reconstruct many of the factors involved, but the impact is real enough to the person going through the experience.
Peguero has told investigators he didn’t know about the purchases. The presumption of innocence should hold up all the more so for someone not charged with any wrongdoing, so let’s take him at his word. It’s not out of the question that Felix might accept that too and they could coexist, men could be teammates and friends and many other things even when their wives don’t get along.
The team has declined to comment, as you might expect. We have no way of knowing how long they’ve been aware of the situation or what impact it might have on their decisions. Any fallout we might speculate about can just as easily have a much more straightforward explanation. We don’t know if they found out during spring training, or maybe after Peguero spent a week with the team in April, or much more recently. Despite the ongoing disasters in the outfield this past season, Peguero was not at any point the best available solution and overlooked. His lack of development means nothing seemed unusual when he didn’t return, even with expanded September rosters, and his performance at Tacoma never really demanded a callup. He’s now out of options and wasn’t likely to have a future with the team regardless. Perhaps Zduriencik moves on over the winter (he’d be a great candidate to follow Wladimir Balentien to Japan), or else he comes back in spring training for one last try, awkward though that may seem now.