Remember when the Washington Nationals' biggest problem was the Pope commandeering Ronnie Belliard's cubicle? Now they discover that their top young prospect has been lying about his name and his age.
Esmailyn Gonzalez, who is listed as 19 years old on the team's roster, is actually 23-year-old Carlos Alvarez Daniel Lugo, four sources have told SI.com.
The Nationals, owned by the Lerner family, gave the shortstop from the Dominican Republic a $1.4 million signing bonus on July 2, 2006, and trumpeted his arrival as a sign of their commitment to acquiring top-tier talent. (Players from Latin America are not subject to the draft and can sign with the team of their choice.)
In 51 games in the Gulf Coast League last season, Gonzalez hit .343 with 12 doubles and 33 RBI. Falsifying one's age is a rare occurrence among Dominican-born players, unless you count Miguel Tejada, and about 12,000 other cases. And oh yeah, this kid.