Over the weekend there were reports that Cuban outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez had signed with the Giants for $2.5 million. Then yesterday came the report that the deal with the Giants was off. Now there is a report for mlb.com's Jesse Sanchez that the 20-year-old Martinez has agreed to terms with the Cubs for $3 million.
The 6'2", 195 pound Martinez has been compared to Andruw Jones by mlb.com, although the more sober Baseball America calls him a "solid, but not premium prospect" and says there are several Cubans better than he is. While mlb.com thinks he is a pure centerfielder, ths scouts that BA talked to are split about where he will fit in. They do note that he has been showing more power in workouts in the Dominican Republic, giving hope that Martinez could be a major home run hitter rather than a singles and doubles guy.
There were reports earlier that Martinez was expected to sign for a $10 million bonus. But scouts weren't as high on him as they had been earlier after getting more looks and his former agent waited too long to come to terms and several teams moved on to different players. This caused his price to drop and his new agents had to settle for a lot less. But even after having to pay a 100% penalty for going over their allotted bonus pool, $6 million seems like a very fair price for a solid outfield prospect with some big upside.
This signing continues the Cubs strategy of making a large splash in the international free agent market and then suffering the penalty in future years. The Cubs will not be able to sign an international free agent for more than $300,000 for the next two seasons.
Here's some mlb.com video on Martinez.
And here's some video of Martinez taking batting practice.