The Texas Rangers expect to learn within the next two days if they will be the team that lands Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez, who on Tuesday becomes eligible to sign with an MLB team.
The Rangers are one of three reported front-runners for the 21-year-old, along with the New York Yankees and Miami Marlins, and they have a big advantage in available international bonus money to sign him during what's left of the current signing period.
A source said that the Rangers have just under $3 million to offer, a figure that Martinez can match or beat only if he holds off on signing until the next signing period for international free agents in July.
One belief in the scouting realm is that the best international players take the money that is tangible rather than run the risk of waiting for a bigger payday that might never develop.
There is also the sense that Martinez wants to get his professional career under way as quickly as possible, and he could open the season with a minor-league team if he signs in the coming days.
The Rangers' minor-league spring camp opened Monday and games begin next Tuesday.
The Rangers quickly turned their sights to Martinez after missing out on Shohei Ohtani in December. Ohtani took less money to sign with the Los Angeles Angels than he could have received from the Rangers.
They quickly signed a handful of international free agents with a portion of the $3.53 million they had hoarded for Ohtani, and have restored some of the money spent via trades for international bonus slots.
Martinez is a left-handed-hitting center fielder with power and speed, and Baseball America reported that he is advanced enough to potential start the season at High A or Double A.