Major League Baseball has decided to approve the $4.5 million deal Jairo Beras signed with the Rangers, while also suspending him for one year for misrepresenting his age.
Tim Brown and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reported the decision, and MLB confirmed it Thursday afternoon. Beras will be suspended until July 1, 2013, for providing a false date of birth in connection with his registration with MLB as a prospect, according to an MLB release.
Beras will be permitted to participate in workouts and practices during his suspension, but will not be permitted to participate in official games. He also will not receive his minor league salary during the suspension, but that is a pittance, particularly compared with his bonus.
Beras, a 6-foot-5, righthanded-hitting Dominican outfielder whom some teams regarded as the top international prospect for July 2 this year, took the industry by surprise when he agreed to a deal with the Rangers in February.
Beras had originally presented himself to MLB as a 16-year-old, which would have made him eligible to sign this year and thus subject to new rules that limit each team to a $2.9 million bonus pool for international signings.
Beras later revealed another birth certificate and claimed to be 17 when he signed with Texas. The league’s investigation determined that Beras is not 16 but that his age is undetermined, a ruling that puts the onus on the team to accept a contract and assume the risk of signing a player with an age MLB cannot verify.
While Beras does have to face a one-year suspension, the ruling is a favorable one for both the player and the team. Because Beras signed before this year’s international signing period, his contract will not count against the Rangers’ 2012-13 international bonus pool. The Rangers also will face no penalties from the signing.
Had Beras been subject to the new bonus rules or had his contract terminated by the league, he likely would have signed for far less than $4.5 million. And while he will have to sit out a year, had he signed on July 2, he would have signed a 2013 contract and likely would not have played in a game anyway until June 2013, when short-season play begins. So compared to other top international signings from this year, he’ll miss less than a month of games.
Beras has been working out at the Rangers’ Dominican academy since signing, and during his suspension he can continue to do so. He can’t play in the Dominican Summer League or any U.S. league, but he can continue training at the organization’s Dominican academy, go to instructional league, spring training and participate in the team’s extended spring program.
Beras trained with Carlos Guzman and was also represented by Angel Santana, who is known in the Dominican Republic as “Aroboy.” Excluding Cuban defectors, Beras’ bonus is the second-largest ever for an international amateur player, behind only the $4.95 million the Rangers gave Dominican outfielder Nomar Mazara a year ago.