MLB Fines Julio Pablo Martinez $100,000
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic—Major League Baseball has fined 21-year-old Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez $100,000 due to discrepancies in his paperwork that he submitted to MLB regarding the time he spent in the United States and Canada.
In a letter to Martinez, MLB wrote: “You presented two documents with false material information in connection with MLB’s residency investigation. Specifically, you provided sworn declarations that contained incomplete and inaccurate information regarding time you had spent in the United States and Canada.”
Martinez said he made an honest mistake when trying to remember specific dates of his time in those countries.
“I’m sorry,” Martinez said. “I want to let MLB know that I didn’t do anything on purpose to mislead them.”
Before leaving to pursue a contract with a major league club, Martinez spent time last summer playing in the independent Can-Am League, which has teams in both the U.S. and Canada. Martinez said he had a work visa from both the U.S. and Canada.
MLB has no issues regarding Martinez’s age or identity. The league did not determine that Martinez traveled anywhere illegally or falsified his residency in Haiti. On Feb. 20, MLB cleared Martinez to sign beginning on March 6. However, MLB determined that Martinez had spent more time in the U.S. and Canada than the information he had submitted on forms to the commissioner’s office, which prompted the $100,000 fine.
It’s rare for MLB to fine an amateur player. By major league rules, the commissioner’s office has the ability to fine or declare a player ineligible to sign for submitting false information to MLB. Usually, however, those measures are reserved for players who have lied about issues related to their age or identity. Even in some of those cases, MLB has granted leniency to players who had discrepancies with their paperwork.
MLB, Cuba Reach Signing Agreement
The new system essentially turns Cuban signings into a hybrid between the Mexican League and Asian professional leagues.
The commissioner’s office informed Martinez that he must write a $100,000 check payable to MLB upon signing with a club and receiving his signing bonus.
Martinez, a lefthanded center fielder with a promising blend of speed, power and a good track record in Cuba, is the top international prospect available. The Marlins, Rangers and Yankees have been connected to Martinez, with the Rangers emerging as the favorites since they would have space in their current 2017-18 bonus pool to sign him immediately, whereas the Marlins and Yankees would have to wait until the new 2018-19 bonus pools kick in on July 2.