Texas Rangers

Report: Rangers sign Julio Pablo Martinez for $2.8 million

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Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that the Rangers have signed Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez for $2.8 million, the remaining sum in the Rangers’ international bonus pool.

Martinez, 21, is now ranked No. 60 in Baseball America’s Top 100 and is listed at No. 3 in the Rangers’ system behind Willie Calhoun and Leody Taveras. Martinez has played professional baseball since the age of 16, spending five seasons in the Cuban National Series and his last two in the Canadian-American Association. He’s highly regarded for a combination of power, speed, and athleticism while playing one of the more valuable positions (center field).

This past season with the Trois-Rivieres Aigles in the Canadian-American Association, Martinez hit .297/.345/.449 with seven home runs, 20 RBI, 48 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 255 plate appearances.

Badler suggests Martinez could start his minor league career at High-A Down East or Double-A Frisco.

Baseball seeking a second lab for MLB COVID-19 tests

MLB COVID-19 tests
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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported last night that Major League Baseball is “actively pursuing an additional medical lab site to increase the speed and efficiency” of MLB COVID-19 tests.

The current setup — as planned by MLB and approved by the MLBPA as a part of the plan to play the 2020 season — is for all MLB COVID-19 tests to be sent to and processed by MLB’s PED testing lab in Salt Lake City, Utah. As you likely heard, there have been delays in the administration of COVID-19 tests and in the shipping of tests to Utah, but to date no one has reported that the lab itself has not been able to handle the tests once they’ve arrived there. If MLB is looking for a second lab site a week into this process, it suggests that their plans for the Utah lab might not be working the way they had anticipated.

The issues with testing have created unease around the game in recent days, with some players and team executives speaking out against Major League Baseball’s handling of the plan in the early going. Commissioner Rob Manfred, meanwhile, has responded defensively to the criticism.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported this morning that, months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States still lacks testing capacity. From the report:

Lines for coronavirus tests have stretched around city blocks and tests ran out altogether in at least one site on Monday, new evidence that the country is still struggling to create a sufficient testing system months into its battle with Covid-19 . . .“It’s terrifying, and clearly an evidence of a failure of the system,” said Dr. Morgan Katz, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins Hospital . . . in recent weeks, as cases have surged in many states, the demand for testing has soared, surpassing capacity and creating a new testing crisis.

It’s less than obvious, to say the least, how Major League Baseball plans to expand capacity for MLB COVID-19 tests while America as a whole is experiencing “a new testing crisis” and a “failure of the system.” At the very least it’s less than obvious how, even if Major League Baseball can do so, it can do so ethically.