The Twins have voided their contract with young Dominican shortstop Jelfry Marte, according to a report from Ben Badler of Baseball America. The 16-year-old had agreed to a $3MM bonus.
Marte evidently did not pass his physical, with Badler citing a vision problem as the basis for the Twins’ action. The youngster is now a free agent and has begun once again showcasing for potential suitors.
Entering the most recent July 2 signing period, Marte was viewed as a “true shortstop,” as Badler phrased it. While Marte’s glovework and speed on the bases tantalized, there were some questions about his future at the plate. Those interested in reading more can check out Badler’s full and excellent coverage (subscription link).
Today’s news is fairly notable not only because it throws Marte back into the pool of open-market talent. It also leaves the Twins with a big chunk of international spending to work with even as other organizations are mostly tapped out.
With the refund, Minnesota is just one of three teams with over $3MM in capacity.* That leaves the club in a better position than most rivals as just about every team in baseball lines up to pursue Japanese star Shohei Ohtani. The Twins could utilize those funds to chase Ohtani, trade them to another organization that wishes to do so, or instead deploy them for some of the remaining international talent. (Badler cites a few intriguing possibilities, including Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez, who is attempting to make it to the majors.)
*This post initially stated that the savings from Marte’s voided contract would add to the team’s previously reported $3MM+ in available spending capacity. As BA’s J.J. Cooper notes in a tweet, the contract rescission is actually what creates the bulk of that availability.