Cuban Prospect Leon’ys Martin Nears Free Agency

Leon'ys Martin is likely to be declared a free agent possibly as soon as this week, ESPN's Jorge Arangure (Twitter link) hears from Martin's agent, Bart Hernandez.  Arangure reports that Martin has been scouted by several teams over the last few months while he has been working out in Mexico, his home since defecting from Cuba last year.

Martin, 22, is a left-handed hitting outfielder "whose best tools are his speed and defense," according to Baseball America's John Manuel, who also notes that Martin had a .492 OBP during the 08-09 season in Cuba's top professional league and "showed at least average range" in center field.  Martin was a bench player for Cuba during the 2009 World Baseball Classic, picking up two hits in seven at-bats.

According to Arangure, Martin is "considered an elite prospect" who looks to earn more than Adeiny Hechavarria and Jose Iglesias, two other recent high-profile Cuban signings.  Hechavarria inked a four-year, $10MM contract with Toronto in April, while Iglesias signed a four-year, $8.25MM deal with Boston in July 2009.

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