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Julio Pablo Martinez Cleared To Sign

Major League Baseball has cleared 21-year-old Cuban center fielder Julio Pablo Martinez to sign beginning on March 6, which means Martinez will be eligible to sign during the current 2017-18 signing period.

That doesn’t necessarily mean Martinez will sign during the current signing period, since some teams have already exhausted their 2017-18 bonus pools. The three favorites to sign Martinez are the Marlins, Rangers and Yankees. If the Marlins or Yankees land Martinez, he would likely wait to sign until the 2018-19 period opens on July 2. The Rangers have spent some of their 2017-18 pool money they had allocated for Shohei Ohtani, but they might still have enough to sign him in March and have him begin his career right away.

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While Martinez’s first assignment will depend on several factors, his talent level is commensurate with a player in high Class A or Double-A. At around 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Martinez has a good combination of power and speed from the left side. He batted .333/.469/.498 in 264 plate appearances during his final season in Cuba, with 52 walks, 30 strikeouts and 24 stolen bases in 29 attempts.

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