(Chris Soto: This is an interesting story...cricket is a BRUTALLY long sport that last 5! days. The batter continues to swing his bat and runs across the pitch and back over, and over, and over again, until he is retired. In the First Class cricket league, Powell scored 139! runs before finally being retired, so if anything, the guy could have good ball to bat skills and crazy insane endurance. Heck, why not....give the guy a try with the GCL Mets and see how he performs and then move him wherever it seems appropriate.)
DJ Short | NBC Sports- 16-year-old Cuban prospect Lazaro Armenteros has been declared a free agent by MLB and will be eligible to sign with a team beginning on February 10. Known as “Lazarito” on the international baseball scene, he’s expected to end up in a corner outfield spot in the long run, but he has experience at both corner infield positions. It’s important to note that because of Armenteros’ age and experience level, he will be subject to MLB’s international spending limits. You might recall that there was a similar situation with Yoan Moncada about a year ago. He ended up signing a $31.5 million deal with the Red Sox. The total outlay of the deal ended up being $63 million due to the penalties involved for exceeding the international spending limit.
(Chris Soto: Before this past weekend's showcase, talent evaluators were calling Lazarito, "the next great one." Reminiscent of Bo Jackson and Willie Mays but at a younger age. I'm not quite sure how to take the showcase results though. Here's a guy who hasn't played organized baseball in over a year because he got caught trying to defect from Cuba twice and ended up getting suspended. The last line is very important here too.....Lazarito IS subject to international signing rules which the Mets, along with multiple other teams are unlikely to exceed. It is also important to note that with a new CBA scheduled to be negotiated; an international draft is very likely in 2017. Team's ARE expecting this and a number of them have indicated a plan to blow through international spending limits in the 2016-2017 signing period since penalties wouldn't be able to carry over into the draft.)
HOT STOVE REPORT (courtesy of mlbtraderumor.com)
- Another top level Cuban player has defected and is now preparing for showcases. OF Yadiel Hernandez will hold a showcase for MLB clubs on February 23rd in Mexico City. According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Hernandez is one of the best position players available in a deep current pool of talent from the island nation. The 28-year-old has had his way with Cuban pitching at times — including a ridiculous .369/.509/.535 batting line that included 77 walks in 369 plate appearances last year — although Badler has explained previously that Hernandez is undersized and doesn’t possess loud tools.