While the Rangers are still waiting to hear a decision from Major League Baseball about the fate of Jairo Beras, the length of the case has created some misconceptions about the league’s investigation process.
One of the more common misunderstandings is that the length of the Beras case is an aberration, or that the league is intentionally dragging its feet. The reality is that many players have had to wait even longer than Beras for MLB to complete their investigations and approve their contracts.
As of today, it has been almost four months—117 days, to be exact—since Beras was reported to have signed his $4.5 million contract with the Rangers. Last year from the Dominican Republic alone, there were at least 26 players who had to wait at least 117 days for MLB to approve their contracts, according to records obtained by Baseball America. Those files show at least 48 Dominican players who had to wait 100 days or more for contract approval.
That’s just the Dominican Republic, and that’s just among players who had their contracts approved, not even counting the players whose deals were terminated, or someone like Cardinals righthander Andres Serrano, who signed in October and is still waiting for an answer from the league.
It’s true that the majority of players signed from the Dominican Republic do not have to wait this long for contract approval, but just looking at the raw data of all signings skews things. MLB investigates many of the players it considers to be the top July 2 prospects on a pre-contract basis, which significantly shortens the time between contract signing and contract approval. The process enabled many July 2 signings from last year to get approved within a week or two of signing.
A potential waiting period of several months is something all teams face. Several club officials have expressed frustration with the approval process at times. The Rangers signed a player last year who took nearly three and a half months to get approved. Another American League team had to wait more than six months for contract approval on two of their 2011 signings.
Beras and the Rangers certainly aren’t alone, but given the circumstances of his case, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that MLB has yet to announce a decision. There are plenty of red flags in the case, including the fact that Beras has presented himself with two different ages using two different birth certificates. So not only does MLB have to determine whether Beras really is 17, but the league also has to figure out whether he violated major league rule 3(a)(1)(E), which states that no player is allowed to either directly or indirectly present to MLB or any team false information about his age, identity, citizenship or scholastic standing in connection with his signing. MLB has already stated that Beras officially presented himself as 16, though the Rangers contend that technically he didn’t do so in connection with his signing.
Given the complexities involved in the case and the recent history of the league’s investigations, the waiting period for Beras is neither surprising nor unique.