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The Nationals agreed to terms with shortstop Esmailyn Gonzalez of the Dominican Republic on Sunday. The switch-hitting Gonzalez, 16, will earn a $1.4 million signing bonus and report to the Dominican Summer League Nationals this week. . . .

The Nationals compared his glove to Ozzie Smith and say he could potentially have the bat of a Miguel Tejada. . . .

Both Bowden and Kasten said there were opposing teams who tried to sabotage them from signing Gonzalez. They would not name the organizations in question, but Kasten said the Nationals are considering taking the matter to the league office.

An intriguing prospect and a little bit of intrigue! What could be finer?

Okay, I'll fess up: I've got no idea who the hell Esmailyn Gonzalez is, though I'll get in on the ground floor here and say:

  • Esmailyn is one awesome first name;
  • His nickname, "Smiley," is also awesome; and
  • At the going rate of $1.4 million, he has to be one hell of an awesome prospect.
Well, he better be, at any rate.

So this is what Stan Kasten is talking about when he says money will be spent on the future? If so, I'm quite impressed. Of course, that's no guarantee Smiley will pan out way, way down the road, but it's a sign that Kasten has the eyes on the prize, the skills to pay the bills, etc.

Actually, the hat-tip apparently goes to Jose Rijo, as Smiley:

was discovered two years ago by Jose Rijo, the team's special assistant to the general manager. Gonzalez played at Rijo's baseball academy in the Dominican Republic for a year before Gonzalez's advisor, Basilio Vizcaino, took him out of the program and put him in his own baseball academy.

Come to think of it, Smiley's advisor has an awesome name, too. I heartily approve of this, all the way around.