It has once again been a long time since we’ve heard anything on big-time Cuban prospect Eddy Julio Martinez. So, then, it’s time for another check-in.
Last time we checked in, Jesse Sanchez reported that the top international prospect was preparing to hold open showcases for teams in the Dominican Republic. Specifically, the Dodgers, Braves, Giants, White Sox, Reds, Mariners and Cubs were rumored to be involved. Our newest update, also from Sanchez:
Sources: Cuban OF prospect Eddie Julio Martinez still available. He's scheduled to work out for Reds in the DR on Tues. Giants still in mix.
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) September 14, 2015
If you’ve forgotten who Martinez is or just how good he could be, check out my last update to this story which includes quotes from Luke and Kiley McDaniel, scouting grades from MLB Pipeline and a brief summation of his story.
Although Sanchez’s report is a solitary tweet, we’ve still learned quite a bit from this update. First and foremost: no one has secured Martinez’s services, despite over a month of additional deliberation. Even though that is new information, though, it is not necessarily a surprise. If you recall what I said last time, you’ll understand why:
As for when Eddy Julio Martinez is expected to sign, it’s suddenly difficult to say. The free agent was actually eligible to sign during the previous international signing period (which closed back in June), where plenty of big budget teams blew their budgets, but opted to wait for this period instead. Perhaps he and his agent believed the eligible teams in this period were better fits/willing to part with more, or perhaps they know how much he is worth and are willing to wait teams out as long as possible (he is only 20 years old, after all). It’s important to remember, too, that teams’ budgets are often very tight around this time of year. Some teams have their budgets set for the season, and don’t recalibrate until the offseason, while others have tighter purses due to midseason acquisitions. Given how much he is expected to get, and the patience he has displayed to this point, I could see Martinez waiting until the eligible teams have all the means necessary to bid on him.
The last sentence is the kicker and remains our best guess. With some eligible teams still holding showcases, others focused on the playoffs and all budgets set to recalibrate soon, I wouldn’t expect reports of a signing to trickle out until the World Series concludes.
On the rest of Sanchez’s tweet, I wouldn’t look too much into the absence of the Cubs – or any team for that matter – or the specific mention of the Reds/Giants. It’s likely that several teams have held showcases – privately, quietly or otherwise – and the Reds are just one of the few we are hearing about. I doubt, sincerely, that Martinez sat out last signing period to pit the Reds and the Giants (solely) against each other, when so many other, bigger fish were available both then and now.
Once again, you should prepare yourself for radio silence, until the rest of the season plays out. After that, things may move fast, as Martinez looks to make up for some lost time over the past few months. Your rooting interests remain with the Cubs, as Martinez looks like a truly unique talent, but don’t be surprised to see his price tag sky rocket beyond sensibility. Remember: every dollar spent on Martinez is two dollars the Cubs cannot spend on free agency this offseason, due to the 100% tax penalty on international free agent contracts over budget.
Given where the Cubs are right now (competitively) and where Martinez is in his developmental path – he’ll definitely need *some* time in the minors – we may not see the Cubs bid over-aggressively, and that’s just fine. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on this story, as it continues to drag along slowly but interestingly.
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