Report: Chicago Cubs make splash, sign Eddy Julio Martinez
By Jake Misener
As if earning their first postseason win since 2003 wasn’t enough to keep their fans happy, the Chicago Cubs went out and reportedly agreed to terms with Cuban outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez, whose deal with the San Francisco Giants fell through earlier this week.
Joining a Chicago organization that already has one of the best farm systems in Major League Baseball, the young outfielder got the $3 million signing bonus he’d been seeking (and that San Francisco reportedly wouldn’t pay) – but it’s of little consequence to the Cubs.
Why, you may ask? Because the Cubs had already blown past their pool allocation, which means they were facing a two-year ban on international signings exceeding $300,000. So, at this point, if you know the ban is coming, you may as well get what you can while you can.
Martinez, just 20 years of age, is widely regarded as one of the best international prospects in the game – and with good reason.
He has primarily been projected as a center fielder, thanks to his combination of tools that will make him not only a promising offensive weapon in the fold of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, but also a solid defensive player, as well.
Martinez’s professional experience is limited and I’d personally be surprised if we saw him even at the high-levels of the farm system any earlier than late 2017, probably 2018. But the comparisons he’s drawn, even at such an early stage of his career, are impressive.
MLB.com offered a scouting report on Martinez in their recent Top 30 international rankings, in which the Cuban outfielder is ranked fourth.
"In the batter’s box, Martinez has a quick and compact power stroke. He’s shown the ability to hit home runs to all fields and work the counts. He’s speedy out of the box and shows base-stealing potential. Described as “hard-nosed,” Martinez is aggressive and not afraid to take an extra-base."
Adding Martinez to the mix gives Chicago another impact talent to flesh out a system that has already produced several notable big league talents, including Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Jorge Soler, Addison Russell, Javier Baez and Carl Edwards, Jr.
Of course, the Cubs still have several notable pieces in the pipeline: Albert Almora is continuing to work his way through the system, but has been surpassed in expectations by infielder Gleyber Torres and Billy McKinney Jr.
As for his work with the glove, Martinez gets high marks from scouts, who, according to Sanchez, like his experience playing in Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
"Martinez has shown good instincts on defense and the ability to cover the gaps in the outfield. Those skills combined with a playable and accurate arm make scouts believe he will stay in center field and could be in the big leagues in after a couple of seasons in the Minor Leagues."
For now, we’ll await confirmation – especially given how things panned out between the outfielder and the Giants. But, at least for the time being, all signs point to the Cubs adding a legitimate international talent.