The Twins have voided the $3 million contract of 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Jelfry Marte due to an issue the team discovered during his physical.
The Twins’ concern, according to multiple sources, related to Marte’s vision. Marte is now a free agent and worked out yesterday for clubs in Orlando along with a group of 2018 and 2019 players in the Dominican Prospect League.
A switch-hitter, Marte was Baseball America’s No. 13 international prospect in the 2017 class. Prior to signing, Marte, who is 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, stood out for his athleticism, speed and defensive actions. BA subscribers can read a full scouting report on Marte here.
With Marte’s contract voided, the Twins have an extra $3 million available in their bonus pool for the 2017-18 signing period, which ends on June 15, 2018. Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani is the biggest name on the verge of becoming eligible to sign, while Cuban center fielder Julio Pablo Martinez is also likely to be declared a free agent during the current signing period. It’s also possible Marte could still sign with the Twins for a smaller bonus.
Most of the high-profile 2017 prospects from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela have already signed. Two exceptions are center fielder Raimfer Salinas (the No. 10 international prospect) and catcher Antonio Cabello (the No. 15 prospect), both of whom train with Francisco Ortiz in Venezuela, though several sources believe the Yankees are likely to sign them.
Marte’s contract is one of the largest ever to be voided for an international amateur teenage prospect. In 2009, the Cardinals voided Dominican outfielder Wagner Mateo’s $3.1 million contract when the club discovered an issue with Mateo’s vision during his physical.