Rangers finalize $15.5 million MLB deal with Cuban outfielder Leonys Martin

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Leonys Martin and the Rangers have finally made official the deal they agreed to last month, with the Cuban outfielder receiving a $15.5 million major-league contract that includes a $5 million signing bonus.

Martin will start out in the minors, but giving him a big-league contract means the Rangers will immediately place the 23-year-old center fielder on the 40-man roster and he’s said to be close enough to MLB-ready that a second-half call-up to Texas is very possible.

John Manuel of Baseball America had mixed reviews of Martin in his scouting report last year, praising his speed and defense in center field while questioning his power potential. In the past even top-rated Cuban defectors have signed for much less than $15.5 million and most of the early speculation on Martin had him costing under $10 million, so clearly the Rangers believe he has legitimate star upside.

And the clock is ticking on Julio Borbon.

Cardinals acquire Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins

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The St. Louis Cardinals have acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Miami Marlins. Craig Mish of Sirius XM was the first to report that the deal was done. Ozuna still has to take a physical.

There is no report yet about what the Cards had to give up to get Ozuna, but given that the Cards and Marlins put a deal together for Giancarlo Stanton, the sides certainly have discussed various Cards prospects recently.

Ozuna fills a major need for the Cardinals, who had serious weaknesses in the middle of the order in 2017. Last year their number three hitters hit a combined .246/.338/.425 and their cleanup hitters hit 270/.350/.444. Ozuna, 27, had a fantastic offensive year in 2017, hitting .312/.376/.548 with 37 home runs and 124 RBI in 159 games.

Ozuna made $3.5 million this past season and is due for arbitration this offseason. He is under contractual control through 2019.