May 4, 2011, 12:20 PM EDT
Leonys Martin and the Rangers have finally made official the deal they agreed to last month, with the Cuban outfielder receiving a $15.5 million major-league contract that includes a $5 million signing bonus.
Martin will start out in the minors, but giving him a big-league contract means the Rangers will immediately place the 23-year-old center fielder on the 40-man roster and he’s said to be close enough to MLB-ready that a second-half call-up to Texas is very possible.
John Manuel of Baseball America had mixed reviews of Martin in his scouting report last year, praising his speed and defense in center field while questioning his power potential. In the past even top-rated Cuban defectors have signed for much less than $15.5 million and most of the early speculation on Martin had him costing under $10 million, so clearly the Rangers believe he has legitimate star upside.
And the clock is ticking on Julio Borbon.