Breaking News: According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Pittsburgh Pirates have fired their head of international scouting Rene Gayo.
In 2004, the Pittsburgh Pirates organization hired Rene Gayo from the Cleveland Indians. He was brought in to head their international scouting group. At the time, the Pittsburgh Pirates were looking to up their presence in the international market and hoped Gayo could help them do that. Fifteen years later the Bucs have seen many of his signings become legitimate players. His most notable signings are Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, both who signed for very low bonuses and are now locked in as blossoming starters in the Bucco lineup. Elias Diaz and Jose Osuna look to be solid bench options for the 2018 season. Even players like Alen Hanson, Willy Garcia, Tito Polo, and more recently Luis Escobar have gone from low bonus signings to notable prospects.
However, for as much good as Gayo has done in bringing in under the radar talent, he also has caused quite a few stir-ups in his tenure year in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. The most recent was the final straw and saw it cost him his position. According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Pittsburgh Pirates have relieved Rene Gayo of his duties after an MLB investigation concluded that he was receiving financial compensation from a Mexican Summer League team. Rosenthal reports that the MLB will not be charging the Pittsburgh Pirates with any wrongdoing. Furthermore, Gayo will, in fact, face disciplinary action, but it will be independent.
Based on the little details given, it seems that Gayo was being paid by a team in Mexico to push their players on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Rosenthal notes that this happened with a player several years ago. Essentially, the Mexican team told Gayo that if he was able to get so much money for a certain player, they then would give him some money in return for doing so. So, Gayo was in a position to deceive the Pittsburgh Pirates front office. He very well could have lied about the potential of a prospect. This would allow the Mexican team to get a bigger bonus for a subpar player. In the end, he profited from both the Pittsburgh Pirates for doing his job and from the Mexican team for getting more money than they should have for a lesser prospect.
So the Pittsburgh Pirates will be moving on from Gayo. This was definitely the icing on the cake for him. Gayo struck the largest international deal in Pittsburgh Pirates history with pitcher Luis Heredia back in 2011. The Bucs shelled out $2.6 million for him, and he ultimately ended up being a disaster of a prospect and was cut just a few days ago.
The worst of it all may have been the Miguel Sano situation in 2009. Gayo was shown in a documentary named “Pelotero” trying to work a deal with Sano. When the price on Sano was getting too high, he is shown to be making false accusations about his age. He claims that Sano is lying about his age and because of it has an investigation opened to help determine if Sano was actually 16. Meanwhile, Gayo’s motive was to scare teams away due to the allegations. Well, it came back that Sano was being honest about his age, making Gayo look very corrupt.
Many thought this documentary alone was enough for Gayo to be let go. Gayo has brought in a lot of intriguing prospects to the Bucs system. However, he also has made a lot of mistakes in his tenure. This time, the mistake caused the MLB to take notice. Now the Pittsburgh Pirates will be looking for a new head of international scouting this offseason.