TODAY: MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports some additional details on the situation. San Francisco’s claim to a signing is based upon “a series of texts and emails” that were exchanged with BHSC. The Giants filed paperwork with the league, per the report, but it appears that Martinez has yet to sign anything with the club. Chicago, meanwhile, struck its deal with Martinez’s Dominican representatives.
YESTERDAY: The controversy surrounding Cuban center fielder Eddy Julio Martinez is now in the hands of Major League Baseball officials, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. MLB is working to decide whether Martinez, 20, will become property of the Giants or Cubs and hopes to have a ruling by the end of the week, per Heyman.
One of the most sought-after prospects on this year’s international free agent market, Martinez agreed to a $2.5MM signing bonus with the Giants about two weeks ago. Giants general manager Bobby Evans publicly acknowledged the agreement, though the team never made an official announcement of the signing. Shortly after, ESPN’s Keith Law reported that Martinez would not be signing with the Giants and remained on the free agent market.
Following that unusual sequence of events, Martinez reportedly agreed to sign with the Cubs for a larger bonus of $3MM. However, since that time, Evans has come out and said that the Giants are still in the running for the highly touted Martinez.
According to Heyman, the heart of the issue here is that Martinez has multiple representatives negotiating on his behalf. While he is a client of MLBPA certified agents Rick Thurman and Rafael Nieves of the Beverly Hills Sports Council, Martinez also has multiple “buscones,” or “street agents” as Heyman terms them. Multiple people are laying claim to the role of agent for Martinez and, as such, there’s uncertainty regarding the validity of Martinez’s deal with the Giants.
It’s not known which parties negotiated which deal, but MLB is working to determine whether or not the agreement with the Giants was binding. That deal was struck before the agreement with the Cubs, and the Giants, according to Heyman, believed it to be binding at the time it was made.
Martinez, a right-handed hitting center fielder, draws praise for his power and speed, though some scouts believe his pop will only translate to doubles power in the end, and he’s more of a corner outfielder than a true center fielder. Those that are more bullish have likened his tools to those of Andruw Jones, though that’s a lofty comparison and obviously a best-case scenario as opposed to a likely outcome. Both the Giants and Cubs have already incurred the maximum penalty level for exceeding their allotted international bonus pools. That means that either would pay a 100 percent luxury tax on Martinez’s signing bonus, so he’d actually cost the Giants $5MM and the Cubs $6MM in total.