February 24, 2009
Never thought we'd see a day when a pro ballplayer might take to selling apples or asking a fan to spare a dime, but thanks to the ongoing fraud schemes those farfetched scenes could become a reality this spring.
On Monday, Phillies reliever Scott Eyre became the latest MLB player to admit he's in a bit of a financial bind, telling MLB.com's Todd Zolecki that his assets are currently frozen due to the ongoing investigation into the Stanford Financial fraud case.
Just how bad is it? Well, because of the court-ordered freeze, Eyre says he's "broke right now" and that he has "$13 in my wallet." This after the lefty signed a one-year deal worth $2 million in the offseason.
"I can't pay my bills right now," Eyre said. "My wife just wrote all these checks to pay bills, and they're all going to bounce. If it takes a week or two to get my money back, I'm going to have to ask my teammates for some money. Seriously, I'm going to have to ask them that. I can't get any money out."
Eyre has another account not affiliated with Stanford, but he said that account doesn't have enough to handle living expenses — including mortgage, bills, etc. — on a long-term basis.
"We'll get our money back eventually," Eyre said. "They caught ours so early that they think we'll only lose the interest. Supposedly, the money is insured. But it's all a scheme, so who knows if that's real insurance or not?
Though some accounts may start to be unfrozen, the situation is the talk of clubhouses across Arizona and Florida. Both Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady of the Yankees have already said they've been affected and Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey says "99 percent" of his cash is stuck. Meanwhile, other sport stars like soccer's Michael Owen and golf's Vijay Singh have been mentioned as victims of Stanford's farflung Ponzi scheme.
As for Eyre, the 36-year-old family man says he's thinking about 2009 being his last year in the game, although more financial uncertainty could change that.
While I know we're talking about someone who's already made more money that many of us could ever dream of, it's hard not to have sympathy for what these guys are going through and hope for a quick and easy solution for them. Simply put, you wouldn't wish this situation on the most hated player from your most hated rival. Godspeed, gentlemen.
UPDATE: OK, so I couldn't resist making just a little light of the situation. Click here to read a spam email from a Major Leaguer in financial trouble.
UPDATE #2: Todd Zolecki reports that the Phillies have agreed to advance Eyre a portion of his $2 million salary: "We understand the circumstances," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said before Wednesday's Grapefruit League opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates at McKechnie Field. "Typically, our policy is not to advance dollars. That's just not what we do, but this certainly is a different type of circumstance that several players are having to deal with."
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