The Chicago Cubs have added the Eddy Julio Martinez signing to their transactions page, and the deal is officially official. You may now do a mini dance, appropriately restrained because the playoffs are going on.
Martinez, 20, is one of the top prospects coming out of Cuba this year, and is generally regarded as a potentially very good defensive center fielder with upside in his bat. I’ll keep that description a little generic, as opinions on his prospect prowess vary pretty widely, depending in whom you ask. The Cubs are reportedly signing Martinez for $3 million, which is far down from the $10+ million he was expected to get, which you could read as a signal that teams were far less impressed when they finally got a chance to scout him more extensively in person, or it could simply be a product of the earlier numbers being too hyped and Martinez’s camp mis-timing the market.
Recently, I wrote a length about that very issue, and it’s entirely possible that Martinez still is that very highly-regarded prospect, but the Cubs got themselves a steal.
For more on Martinez, who may or may not play in an offseason league before Spring Training rolls around (thus, don’t expect to get a great gauge on where he would rank in the Cubs’ system for a while), you can read more here.
It’s been quite a process getting this deal finalized, as it first looked like the Giants were going to be the team getting a $2.5 million steal, before the Cubs swooped in at $3 million, and then MLB had to sort out which team actually had an enforceable contract.
Martinez becomes the highest-paid prospect in the Cubs’ IFA class for this year, which was already a blow-out class, taking the Cubs well over their spending limit and putting them into the maximum penalty (100% overage tax, plus restriction on signing any individual player for more than $300,000 for each of the next two IFA periods). The $3 million spent on Martinez effectively becomes $6 million when that overage is factored in.
The Cubs signed a group of prospects back on July 2 when the IFA period opened, and then also added a young Korean outfielder for a significant bonus a little bit after that. With some significant prospects still available to be signed, the Cubs might not be done adding young talent between now and June 15, when the current IFA period ends and the restrictions set in.