Yesterday, Jon Heyman reported that each of the Cubs and Giants believe they have an enforceable agreement in place with 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez, which partly explained why his signing has been both confusing and un-finalized.
Today, Jesse Sanchez reveals more details on just how that happened, and where things stand. You’ll want to read Sanchez’s report for the full story, but he notes that Martinez’s representatives in the Dominican Republic – with whom the Cubs came to a $3 million deal, according to Sanchez – say the earlier deal with the Giants was not formalized in the proper way with MLB. The Giants, by contrast, reportedly came to a deal ($2.5 million) with Martinez’s stateside representatives in California. You can see, then, why this might be a matter for MLB to resolve with respect to whether the Giants’ deal was fully and finally formalized before additional negotiations (apparently) took place with the Cubs.
Obviously I’d love to see the Cubs get Martinez here (and, generally speaking, I’m in favor of players getting paid as much as they can in the limited time they have to get it), but I’m not going to take a specific position on how this should shake out because we may never know the full story on how things played out. And, even if we did, it’s entirely possible that this is one of those gray areas where all sides have a completely legitimate explanation for how things went and how things should proceed … but only one side will get its way.
All that said, and speaking broadly: if the Giants really did have a full and fair deal with Martinez before the Cubs, then that deal should be enforced. The system doesn’t work if players and their representatives come to an agreement with one team, only to ignore that agreement when another team comes along with a better offer (conversely, imagine if teams weren’t held to their agreements if they change their mind the next day – unfairness would work in both directions). It would be a bummer for the Cubs and to Martinez, but, in that situation, fair is fair.
If, on the other hand, there was no final, enforceable agreement with the Giants, then this is simply a matter of a player and his representatives keeping their options open until the best deal comes along, and the deal with the Cubs should be finalized. From the sound of things, Martinez would like to sign with the Cubs for $3 million. Hopefully it wasn’t too late when the Cubs got involved.
If Martinez winds up going to the Giants, the Cubs won’t be entirely out of luck – they’ll just have to put the $6 million (signing bonus plus 100% overage tax) to use elsewhere.