Financial fraud scheme affecting Eyre
With assets frozen, Phils reliever having trouble paying bills
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Scott Eyre has had more on his mind this spring than just baseball.
Eyre, like many Americans, has found himself a victim of a massive financial fraud scheme.
"Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to pay my bills," the lefty reliever said Monday at Bright House Field. "I'm broke right now. I have no money. I have $13 in my wallet."
Eyre, like Yankees outfielders Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady and Rays first baseman Carlos Pena, has had his assets frozen by federal regulators as the government investigates the Stanford Financial Group and an alleged $8 billion fraud scheme that involves billionaire Robert Allen Stanford. The Securities and Exchange Commission froze the assets of three Stanford entities. Damon and Nady have said they are having trouble paying bills because their liquid assets have been frozen, and Nady has said he is having problems securing housing in New York.
Eyre has the same problem.
"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?
"If I do lose all the money, I will need to play for another year."
Eyre's future in baseball is what led to him to discuss his financial troubles. Eyre thought 2008 might be his last season in baseball after Cubs manager Lou Piniella buried him in the bullpen. But the Cubs eventually traded Eyre to the Phillies in August, and he found new life. He went 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA in 19 appearances as he helped Philadelphia win the World Series.
Eyre felt so good last year, he enjoyed the Phillies and the city so much, that he decided to play one more season.
|"Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to pay my bills. I'm broke right now. I have no money. I have $13 in my wallet."|
|-- Scott Eyre|
The club obliged when it signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract.
"I'm treating this like it is my last year," Eyre said. "I'm working harder. I'm making sure that I do the things I need to do. In all honesty, I didn't work as hard as I could the last couple years, and I feel [badly] about that. You do what you do in the offseason, and in the season, you kind of get lax. And I'm not going to do that this year. It's not going to happen."
Eyre said he apologized to Cubs general manager Jim Hendry when he traded him to the Phillies.
"Why?" Hendry said.
"I don't feel like I fulfilled the promise that I made you that I would work hard," Eyre replied.
So Eyre will work hard to go out on top, if this is it.
"My wife is ready for me to be home, and my kids are ready for me to be home," Eyre said. "And I'm OK with that. But that being said, when this season ends and if my arm feels really good -- and it feels really good right now -- we'll sit down as a family. I'll look at my kids and say, 'Do you want daddy to play again?' Like every player, it's a family thing. But it really is a family thing for me."
This is Eyre's 13th season in the Majors.
"I'm sorry, but a little kid from Salt Lake City, I never ever imagined I'd have this much time in the Majors," Eyre said.
Eyre just hopes that if he does have a 14th year in the Majors, it is on his own terms.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.