TODAY: Martinez and his camp are “seeking a bonus closer to $3MM,” MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports.
YESTERDAY: Giants GM Bobby Evans acknowledged weekend reports of an agreement between his team and Cuban center fielder Eddy Julio Martinez yesterday and said the team was excited about the prospect of finalizing the deal, but ESPN’s Keith Law now reports that the Giants are not signing Martinez, who remains available as a free agent (Twitter links). It’s worth noting that while Evans confirmed an agreement, the team did not formally announce the signing. While that may lead to speculation of a physical issue, Law says there’s no injury in this instance. In fact, he adds that he watched Martinez take batting practice today and came away very impressed.
Martinez, 20, was believed to be in line for a signing bonus in excess of $10MM, but the reported agreement with the Giants was a $2.5MM signing bonus. One of the most talked-about and highly ranked free agents earlier in the summer, Martinez curiously went months with his name scarcely coming up in news and rumors before the agreement with the Giants was reported. Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel chronicled the reasons for his falling stock in a chat with readers today, noting that teams were offering as much as $7MM earlier in the summer, but when Martinez’s camp wouldn’t bite on those offers, the teams moved on.
With Martinez back on the market, other teams that showed interest in him — the Dodgers, Cubs, Astros, Reds and Rangers were all intrigued, to varying extents — will again have the opportunity to strike a deal. Martinez reportedly switched agents in mid-September, hiring Rick Thurman and Rafael Nieves of the Beverly Hills Sports Council.
Martinez is said to possess a powerful, compact swing and the ability to hit the ball to all fields in addition to base-stealing upside due to his above-average speed. However, some scouts feel that he’s more of a doubles hitter than a home run hitter, and not all are convinced that he can stick as a center fielder. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez and Ben Badler of Baseball America each have scouting reports on Martinez (the latter requires a highly recommended subscription).