MLB has yet to announce to teams a decision on the case of Jairo Beras, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Beras, a lanky 6-foot-5 Dominican corner outfielder, had been considered by several teams to be the top prospect eligible to sign on July 2. However, after using a birth certificate saying he was born Dec. 25, 1995, Beras used a new birth certificate claiming he was 17 to sign with the Rangers on Feb. 29 for $4.5 million, a far greater amount than he likely would have been able to command under the new international signing restrictions that begin on July 2.
Whatever the outcome of the case is, Beras’ pending status does put the Rangers at a disadvantage in the July 2 market, since they won’t know whether Beras might get suspended and then fall under the $2.9 million bonus pool rules for the 2012-13 international signing period. Yet general manager Jon Daniels and his staff had to have known, given the circumstances in the Beras case, that it would take MLB a long time to sort through everything.
From MLB’s perspective, there also isn’t any hurry to reach a decision. MLB has “verified” the ages of several high-profile players in recent years, only to go back later and find out that those players had lied about their ages and in some cases their identities as well. There are some players who haven’t been able to get on the field yet after waiting for nearly a year for the results of an MLB investigation. Other players in the past have had to wait even longer. From MLB’s perspective, their concern is to make sure that nobody involved in the case is engaged in fraud or other corruption. While July 2 is an important date on the baseball calendar, there’s no reason MLB has to make any ruling before then, and the Beras investigation is only one of hundreds of cases they’re face with tackling.
Technically, the decision should affect any team with interest in Beras. If he is suspended and would become eligible to sign next year (presumably February or March 2013, if it’s a one-year suspension retroactive to his signing date), teams that might want to sign Beras would have to consider reallocating resources from their $2.9 million bonus pool, a big chunk of which is likely to be spent next month for many teams.
The alternative for Beras in that situation would be to wait until July 2, 2013 to sign, since then the signing bonus pools would be larger than $2.9 million for some teams based on inverse order of 2012 winning percentage, although that means the Rangers would likely have minimal funds. However, most teams expect Beras to end up with the Rangers regardless of what happens, so the decision is likely to primarily affect Texas.
Meanwhile, everyone involved will just have to wait.