Pittsburgh Pirates Dismiss Latin American Scouting Director Rene Gayo

Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Pittsburgh Pirates have dismissed Rene Gayo, who was their Director of Latin American Scouting. According to Rosenthal’s article on The Athletic (subscription required), an investigation by Major League Baseball revealed that Gayo took an improper payment for the sale of at least one player from a summer team in Mexico several years ago. When the Pirates found out about the payment, they told Gayo that they would not renew his contract. Rosenthal also notes that Gayo faces possible discipline from Major League Baseball.

Gayo has been in charge of the Latin American Scouting for the Pirates since 2004. He was responsible for signing players such as Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Jose Osuna, Edgar Santana and Elias Diaz among others. The Pirates are currently searching for Gayo’s replacement.

UPDATE 9:12 PM: The Pirates released the following statement:

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced that the Club will not be renewing the contract of Director of Latin American Scouting, Rene Gayo. The announcement was made by Executive Vice President, General Manager Neal Huntington. “We informed Rene that we would not be renewing his contract upon its expiration next month and thanked him for his efforts on behalf of the Pirates,” said Huntington. “As an organization, we concluded that we needed to move in a new and different direction with our Latin American scouting leadership. We will immediately begin an exhaustive search aimed at securing the very best leader for our Latin American scouting operations.” “We had been apprised of Major League Baseball’s investigation into alleged Rules violations committed by Rene during his tenure with the Pirates and the fact that MLB intends to discipline Rene as a result of those violations. Other than confirming our profound disappointment in the breach of trust that was the subject of MLB’s investigation, we will have no further comment on the investigation or MLB’s intended discipline.”

  • The Pirates needed a scandal to not renew Gayo’s contract, please! This guy has done nothing for the Pirates on the international front. Sure he was lucky with a few bargain basement signings that made the majors, as all teams are, so lets not give him much credit for that. The two big prizes he was involved with turned out to be disasters. He screwed up the Sano signing losing him to the Twins with the kid’s agent so pissed at him that he didn’t even allow the Pirates to make counter offer for Sano. Then the best young pitcher he ever saw, Heredia turned out to be not much at all at the cost of 3 million dollars. The only one that is a loser in all this is his buddy Banana, the trainer that gets the Pirates highest bonus every year. Gayo should have lost his job after the Sano debacle. Now the Pirates might be able to move in a new direction and I hope compete for some high end talent instead of taking what is left over after other teams sign the more projected talented players. As far as his contacts go, I am sure some of the other international scouts know the same trainers and now with him and his penny pinching ways gone, maybe the Pirates will again reap the talent that is available and just wanting to come to them.
    One other thing, his methods may have been the result of Pirate management telling him what to spend. If so, it is better to get rid of him and try some new blood in his spot.

  • Nowhere to go but up in my view. If you go by what we’ve gotten from LA in the pat 4-5 years, Gayo, well once highly thought of, had lost his fastball.

  • I don’t think that Gayo did anything special. He is not the only guy to have players reach the majors after receiving small bonuses. When they did give a big bonuses, those players have not worked out, Heredia, Ramirez, De La Cruz’s.

    Take a look at the Phillies system for comparison. According to BP’s list of prospects, #1, Sixto Sanchez, received a bonus of $35k, #5, Adonis Medina, $70k, and #6 Franklin Kilome $40k. All are pitchers. Gayo seemingly tried to find bargains throughout when it looks that you are more likely to get a bargain by signing pitchers. The success rate for the top position players each year seems to be higher. I think that the focus going forward should be to sign one of the top bats each year, (about $3M), then spend the remaining bonus pool signing kids in the $50-$75k range looking for those hidden gems.

    • Great comment.

      There’s little evidence that Gayo had some sort of special talent and his “connections” aren’t producing any leverage in signing sought-after prospects.

      He managed to be just as unethical as the rest of this sordid industry *without* producing any of the actual “benefits”.

      At least now hopefully the organization can hold their heads a bit higher while also not producing much Latin American talent.

  • Good riddance.

    • I’d been getting a sleazy vibe off the reports I’d read about Gayo the last few years, so I second this.

      • If you haven’t already, watch the documentary Ballplayer: Pelotero. It follows the signing process of Miguel Sano and another player at age 15 as they go through the workout process trying to earn a bonus. It was really eyeopening as to what the kids go through.
        There were a lot of shady things going on in the attempt to sign Sano. It is still amazing to me that the organization botched that.

        As a side note, it shows footage of the Sano family reading DK’s old blog with the Post-Gazette trying to get more information. I remembered reading some of the same stories.

    • Soured on him after the Sano mess. Glad to see us move on.

  • andrew.oneill88
    November 16, 2017 7:23 am

    Huge news! This is disappointing, but par for the course considering the offseasons we’ve had in recent years…

  • I’ve been wanting some news on the Pirates but this is not what I had in mind!

    • What has Gayo done for us lately? Who is our last top Latin player?

      • Lolo Sanchez, Sherten Apostel, and Rodolfo Castro are starting to make some waves in the lower levels. Time will tell if they pan out though.

      • Lolo Sanchez

        • Closest thing to an everyday player since Gregory Polanco, who debuted in 2014.

          Lolo, on an *aggressive* schedule, won’t debut himself until 2022.

          Eight years between Major League players is what failure looks like.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    November 15, 2017 10:25 pm

    Pretty funny…..the irony here is that the Pirates obviously did not get much of a return for their scout’s cheating efforts….given the Pirates lack of high end LA prospects in recent years….

    • Or the idea that Atlanta seemed to successfully push back against the idea that they were violating rules in la

  • The last domino to fall, finally. Clean la casa out and start with a fresh approach.

    • A true house cleaning by the Pirates would have started with Clint Hurdle and the rest of our treasure chest of MLB level hitting experts responsible for our bottom 5 ranking out of 30 MLB teams. Gayo did very well for the Pirates given the amounts of money the Pirates were willing to invest in LA

      But, there has been such a rush to sign LA talent by large budget teams the past 4 years, there will be an excellent secondary market for talented LA players/pitchers. Think guys like Oneil Cruz and Angel German coming from the Dodgers for Tony Watson. A power hitting 3B and a possible RHRP/Closer.

      • I’m hoping a fresh set of eyes, a change in approach will yield benefits. Everyone’s job has an expiration date. Gayo’s an old cat, but he’ll land on his feet.

        • IF he actually accepted a kickback and it is proven…he may land on his feet again, but it won’t be with an MLB paycheck

  • I could care less if Gayo stayed or went. I don’t think he did a very good job, but I am not sure if that is from his own doing, or at the direction of the FO.

    You want some poetic justice? There is a distinct possibility that he received a kickback from shuffling Luis Heredia to the Pirates. Let that sink in.

  • Any other recent picks you know of that Gayo was responsible for?

    • He was the director of Latin American Scouting, so he had the final scouting say on every Latin American player since 2004. I just named the guys who were on the 2017 club as examples

      • 🙁

        I know some had issues regarding Sano etc etc but this looks like a big loss/damage to the Pirates

        • I think it is, but many people don’t like the “search for a hidden gem” style, so I bet a lot of people will be happy that change will come. He had a lot of connections in the industry, so it is a big deal, but someone new could always have a plan that works better. I’d say the Pirates have been very average when considering money spent vs what they received. They have used a lot of Latin American players as trade pieces recently, so that’s a hidden value that gets overlooked.

          • I guess this situation makes next season’s international pool more interesting…

            • As long as it’s not a complete overhaul and just Gayo, then there shouldn’t be much change. The big cost players usually have multiple scouts attached, and 2018 July 2nd players (the best ones) have usually agreed to a deal by now. The change would mostly be 2019

              • Got it. Thanks for further explanation! Really wishing from now on we get some good news lol

    • Luis Heredia 🙁