Charles Hairston, the agent for 16-year-old Cuban prospect Lazaro Armenteros (also the cousin of former Major Leaguers Scott Hairston and Jerry Hairston Jr.), tells MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez that his client is not close to a decision (links to Sanchez on Twitter). While multiple reports earlier this week suggested that “Lazarito” was weighing offers and would decide on a team, Hairston tells Sanchez that new teams have entered the mix in the event that Lazarito waits to sign until the 2016-17 international signing period begins on July 2. He’s also still considering signing with a team during the current period, though. “For a 16 year-old, it’s easy to want to just play ball,” said Hairston. “But he wants to do what’s best for his family. He’s being very mature.”
Waiting until July 2, notably, would eliminate multiple teams from the mix, including the Dodgers, Cubs, Royals and Giants. Those four clubs have vastly exceeded their 2015-16 international pools and would, thus, be ineligible to sign a player for more than $300K in the two forthcoming signing periods. Waiting until the next period would also open the door for clubs like the Braves, Phillies, Padres and Cardinals — each of whom is said to be preparing to be aggressive on the international front in the 2016-17 period.
Lazarito himself told Sanchez recently that he hoped to make a decision this week — possibly by Wednesday — but clearly the timeline has skewed somewhat. While it’s not entirely clear that Lazarito will wait until the 2016-17 period to sign, the fact that his agent has referenced new entrants in the July 2 scene and indefinitely delayed the decision certainly lends credence to that possibility. Sanchez had previously reported that the Dodgers, Cubs, Braves, Phillies and Padres were all in the mix for Lazarito, so waiting until July 2 would bode well for any of the latter three teams. Of course, it’s also possible that a yet-unreported club has made a compelling offer to Lazarito’s camp; as many as nine clubs were said to have serious interest at one point, and others seem to have entered the mix.
Armenteros has been working out for teams as a center fielder and drawn praise for his power, speed and athleticism, although at 6’2″ and 205 pounds as 16-year-old, some scouts reportedly believe that he’ll have to settle into an outfield corner down the line. Sanchez recently ranked him among the top international free agents (those who qualify as amateurs, that is) and provided a free scouting report. Baseball America’s Ben Badler recently profiled him and provided a highlight video, also going a bit further in-depth for BA subscribers (a highly recommended route for those interested in the international prospect scene).