The Giants' Pedro Feliz has finally wrestled free of his visa problems and joined the team in Scottsdale for Spring training. It took him two years to do it however. When Feliz left the Dominican Republic his baseball age was 25. When he arrived in camp it was 27. In April he will be 28. You see, the discrepancy betwen the player's doctored birth certificate and reality was finally discovered.
So Feliz, who has gone from a potential starting third baseman for the Giants after David Bell's departure to a bench player with potential after Edgardo Alfonzo's signing, can now take on the role of veteran bench player, a not too darn good one at that.
He was greeted with birthday balloons at his locker, a joke from his fellow players. For his career, it's not quite a comical matter. A 25-year-old non-starter may still have some potential to grow into. A 27-year-old non-starter will probably be no better than a bench player for life. The Giants' brass is probably not laughing too heartily.
However, team management has reacted with total sangfroid when these discrepancies have cropped up over the past two offseasons. Aging two years has to lower a player's value substantially, but the teams seem to accept their now-damaged goods happily. Pehaps they've been in on the joke. Or perhaps the positive approach is the best way to arrest the declining value of the asset. However, I just get the feeling that baseball people involved don't want to look stupid in being duped so they just tell the business people that all is well.
I do pitty the poor souls having to update all those records at Baseball-Reference.com, ESPN, etc. And the analysts who rely on them.