The Giants and highly-touted center field prospect Eddy Julio Martinez have reached agreement on a $2.5MM pact, according to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (on Twitter).
Martinez, regarded by some as the top free agent on this year’s international market, has flown under the radar of late after generating quite a bit of buzz late in the spring and early this summer. It was written on multiple occasions that the 20-year-old center fielder was expected to command a bonus in excess of $10MM, but he will reportedly sign a deal worth only 25% of that. The Giants have already spent heavily enough on international free agents to incur the maximum penalties, so the only further repercussion they’ll face with the Martinez deal is further luxury taxation. Their high-priced class includes $6MM shortstop Lucius Fox, who is also rated as one of this year’s top international players.
The Dodgers, Reds, Cubs, Astros and Rangers were also linked to Martinez at various times. As Sanchez noted in his free scouting report, Martinez has a compact and powerful stroke plus the ability to hit home runs to all fields. His speed gives him base-stealing upside, and he should be able to remain in center field thanks to good range in the gaps and an accurate throwing arm. Baseball America’s Ben Badler (subscription only) is less bullish, suggesting Martinez’s power leads more to doubles than home runs and noting that not all scouts believe he’ll stick as a starter in center field.