Any team that wants to unload its remaining international slot money can find a trade partner in the Texas Rangers, who have targeted a Cuban center fielder who on Tuesday was cleared by MLB to become a free agent.
Julio Pablo Martinez, 21, can sign with any team March 6, and the Rangers are believed to have the biggest pool of slot money available. They had also acquired international slots in an attempt to sign Shohei Ohtani, and still have more than half of the estimated $3.5 million the stockpiled for him.
With the trade, the Rangers could again be pushing $3 million, and it is good only for the rest of the current signing period for international free agents that expires in June.
"From a philosophy standpoint, that's not new," assistant general manager Jayce Tingler said. "We're always looking to gain flexibility."
Martinez is not required to sign during this period. He can wait until July 2, all teams will be given fresh signing pools. The Rangers, though, have dispatched assistant general manager Mike Daly to the Dominican Republic, where he is familiar with the landscape.
Baseball America believes that Martinez, a left-handed hitter and thrower, is advanced enough that he will likely open his professional career at High A or Double A.