We heard about it yesterday but now it’s official. And thanks to the new rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, this will be the last big dollar international free agent signing you’ll be seeing:
The Los Angeles Dodgers have signed Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig to a seven-year contract.
The Dodgers announced the deal on Friday. The team didn’t reveal the financial numbers, but numerous media reports pegged the contract at $42 million, a record for a Cuban defector.
The 21-year-old Puig has rarely played outside Cuba, but excelled with Cienfuegos during the 2010-11 season before sitting out last season. He has made numerous attempts to defect, and recently established residency in Mexico.
That’s a lot of money for a guy scouts are somewhat iffy on, but he’s young and the deal is long so if he does pan out as a regular, it won’t look too bad.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.