Eddy Julio Martinez: How Did the Cubs Get So Lucky?

Thinking about the Eddy Julio Martinez signing has me feeling like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. A lot of emotions have gone through my head in the last 11 hours about Martinez, the deal to sign him, and his true talents. Here are the varied reactions to the deal.

How I Must Appear On the Outside: Dr. Jekyll, aka Mr. Conservative

The Cubs signed Cuban outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez for $3 million early Thursday. Martinez is another young outfielder that Theo Epstein has added to the stable of young prospects the Cubs have stashed at the lower levels of the minors. It remains to be seen where Martinez will be assigned. That will be decided in spring training or, even more likely, extended spring training so that the Cubs can truly see what they have.

The 6’2” 195 lb. outfielder was ranked as the #4 International Free Agent by MLB.com. Jesse Sanchez describes his talents:

In the batter’s box, Martinez has a quick and compact power stroke. He’s shown the ability to hit home runs to all fields and work the counts. He’s speedy out of the box and shows base-stealing potential. Described as “hard-nosed,” Martinez is aggressive and not afraid to take an extra-base.

Martinez has shown good instincts on defense and the ability to cover the gaps in the outfield. Those skills combined with a playable and accurate arm make scouts believe he will stay in center field and could be in the big leagues in after a couple of seasons in the Minor Leagues. Scouts also like that Martinez has experience playing for Cuba’s junior national teams in Mexico and Venezuela and that he spent two seasons with Las Tunas in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, the island’s top league.

How I Feel On the inside: Mr. Hyde, aka Mr. Hyperbole

Yes!!! Wednesday was Christmas and Thursday was like New Year’s! I am really excited that the young 20-year-old, one of the top international free agents on the market, signed with the Cubs for a measly $3 million! Martinez has been comped to a young Andruw Jones for his bat and fielding prowess! When it comes to Martinez, the young 20-year-old outfielder technically could play all three outfield positions. He has good power, good speed, a plus arm, and a good glove; a real five tool outfielder. And the Cubs got him for just $3 million. What a steal!!! Can’t wait to see him in Myrtle Beach and Tennessee next summer!

But, In the Real World…

Earlier this summer, the asking price for Martinez was supposed to be around $10 million. The Cubs just got him for $3 million less than a week after he reportedly signed with the Giants for $2.5 million, and then three days later backed out of the agreement. Apparently, the rumor is that Martinez’s dad asked for the extra money.

Something is still a little off on this deal. One is the reported asking price of the summer versus what the Cubs agreed to pay him. Just the other day, Keith Law said Martinez looked really good in batting practice.

I think the real story is going to come out here in the next few days about why the big drop. And yet the Cubs were still able to sign him. It could be any number of things; a rickety arm or a bad knee or an attitude issue, who knows?

Or the biggest reason – maybe this is just the market for Cuban CFs these days.

Or, here is what Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs.com thinks (click to Enlarge):

I don’t quite know what to truly think about Martinez. Spring training is really when we will truly see what Martinez is and what he can be.

As for where he will be in 2016, I tend to think he will start out in South Bend because his skills might be a little advanced, along with his age. However, it would not surprise me to see him start in Eugene if the Cubs play it conservatively. It is going to be cool to see whether he is with Darryl Wilson in Eugene or Eloy Jimenez and Donnie Dewees in South Bend.

I don’t think Martinez will be the last international free agent signing by the Cubs this winter, either.

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