MLB Rumors: Julio Pablo Martinez, the 21 year old center fielder who left Cuba last season, has been cleared by MLB to sign with a major league team, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. Martinez, a small lefthanded hitter with a good all-around skill set, has been compared by Badler previously to a young Curtis Granderson.
Martinez is subject to the J-2 bonus pool restrictions that apply to international free agents under the age of 25. The Texas Rangers have been linked to Martinez for a while as a team with interest in him, and they have the most money still available to spend in the bonus period that runs through this June. If Martinez waits until July 2 or later to sign with a team, his bonus would be applied to next year's pool; however, with many teams already reportedly having verbal deals in place with players eligible in the 2018-19 period, Martinez may not be able to cash in on a bigger deal by waiting.