The Nationals made their latest expensive splash in Latin America as they recover from the scandal that once rocked their international operations, recently signing 16-year-old Dominican third baseman Neivy Pilier to a $225,000 signing bonus, a Nationals official confirmed.
Though the money pales in comparison to some of the bonuses handed out in the days before the new Collective Bargaining Agreement's international spending restrictions came into effect, the bonus is the second-largest handed out by the Nats since 2009, when they gave $1.4 million to a shortstop they thought was 16-year-old Esmailyn Gomez, but who turned out to be 19-year-old Carlos Alvarez.
The Alvarez debacle -- which subsequently revealed a skimming scandal that led to the resignation of then Nats GM Jim Bowden, forced the Nationals to completely re-vamp their Latin American outfit. The signing of Pilier, along with the signing of outfielder Luis Guzman in July -- indicates that the Nats are back up and running in the Latin American market.
Pilier reportedly has a strong arm and the potential to develop a power bat. He must still pass an MLB investigation before he officially joins the Nats' organization.