Rangers, Beras Still Await MLB's Decision

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Jairo Beras' father has come forward to say he thinks his son's contract will soon be approved by Major League Baseball, while international scouting sources continue to insist that MLB can't sign off on Beras' deal and maintain that it's serious about enforcing its rules in Latin America.

It's all just speculation, but that's all people have to for now because there is still no resolution in Beras' case.

Word that Beras, an outfielder from the Dominican Republic, had signed with the Rangers for a $4.5 million bonus became public on Feb. 29, sparking controversy throughout the game.

Beras and the Rangers say he is 17, even though he has used documentation in the past that stated his birthdate as Dec. 25, 1995, which would make him 16. MLB has said that Beras officially presented himself as a 16-year-old, including at a February showcase organized by MLB exclusively for players who will become eligible to sign on July 2.

The Rangers have declined to comment until the situation is resolved, but they believe their research shows that Beras is 17. Beras' father, Harold Herdocia, also said that his son is 17, born Dec. 25, 1994. Herdocia said today that he is expecting MLB to approve Beras' contract this week, though he hadn't heard any official news yet.

While nobody seems to be arguing now that Beras is 16, part of the league's investigation will involve determining whether Beras may be older than 17. Beras presenting two birth certificates is already a red flag, though the Rangers claim the paperwork he presented to MLB shows he is 17.

The Rangers told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Beras didn't know how old he was when he registered for the MLB showcase. Other international sources have noted that Beras' representatives had been telling people they had an offer in the neighborhood of $5 million before the showcase. Player representatives in Latin America claiming they have outrageous (and often fabricated) offers on the table is not uncommon, though a $4 million-$5 million offer would have been unlikely given the new rules that went into effect in November that restrict teams to a $2.9 million bonus pool on international signings beginning on July 2.

Herdocia, who told BA that his son first contacted him in November, is a former minor leaguer who, along with his brother Donald, signed with the Giants out of Nicaragua in May 1990. Herdocia played for the Giants' Dominican Summer League team that year in San Pedro de Macoris, where Beras is from, and hit .283 in 145 at-bats. After getting released, Herdocia later signed with the Angels in April 1992 and reached the Rookie-level Arizona League in 1993. He was living in San Pedro de Macoris at the time, according to the Angels' 1993 media guide. Herdocia said he has lived in Richardson, Texas, since 2001.

The undecided status of the Beras case puts the Rangers at a disadvantage in the July 2 market because they don't yet know whether they may have to commit money to try to sign Beras under the new $2.9 million limit. According to major league rules, anyone who presents false identifying information in connection with his signing is subject to being declared ineligible to sign for one year. The Rangers may be able to argue that Beras did not present any false information when he officially signed, although MLB in the past has suspended players who never even signed a contract.

"Everyone else is waiting to see what MLB is going to do," said one Latin American director. "All the rules they have in Latin America, and all the things they say, what everyone says is that Jairo Beras is going to be suspended. If they don't do it, they're really going to look bad because they're preaching one thing and then doing another. It's going to be interesting to see what happens."

Beras trained in the Dominican Republic with Carlos Guzman and Angel Santana, a former Nationals and Dodgers scout known as "Aroboy." His agent, Scott Bronstein, works with Santana and in January joined the Praver Shapiro Sports Management Group, which had also negotiated the $15.6 million deal for Cuban outfielder Leonys Martin with the Rangers last year. The group currently represents Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler. Beras' representatives could not be reached for comment.