Less than a month after the Twins voided his contract, International free agent Jelfry Marte has found a new home. The Tampa Bay Rays signed Marte to a deal on Tuesday, however the deal was finalized on Wednesday.
It was only a month ago that Jelfy Marte was a Twin. Fast forward to December, Marte has signed his second deal of 2017 as the Tampa Bay Rays picked him up today. The Twins voided Marte’s contract in November after the club found he had vision issues. Jesse Sanchez reported that the Rays had struck a deal with Marte on Tuesday.
LaVelle Neal reported that Marte signed with the Rays for around $800,000. Marte was originally signed for $3 million dollars by the Twins, but the vision issue that was discovered in his physical put him back on the market.
To make the signing of Marte possible, the Rays traded Anthony Misiewicz to the Mariners for extra international pool money. The move brought over $1 million dollars in money that will be used to pay for Marte.
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Before signing with the Twins, Marte was a hot commodity coming out of the Dominican Republic. As a 16-year old, Marte was ranked as the 13th best international prospect according to Baseball America. MLB Pipeline ranked Marte as the third best international prospect this summer.
Marte has been lauded for his defensive abilities at shortstop. MLB.com raves about his prowess with the glove.
"“Marte impressed scouts with his quick hands and impressive foot speed. He also has a strong arm in addition to the defensive skills that has MLBPipeline.com projecting him as an everyday shortstop.” (MLB.com)"
The 2017 off-season has seen no shortage of talented international free agents. After Shohei Otani and the group of prospects forfeited by the Braves signed, Marte was an excellent option for the Rays. The Rays have now signed two of MLB.com’s top three international prospects. Wander Franco was signed for $3.825 million on July 2nd.
Marte’s defensive ability will put him in the top 25 prospects in the Rays’ prospect rankings. Even with the vision issues, signing Marte for under a million dollars is a nice consolation prize for not signing Otani.
Marte is a question mark all around, but he is worth the risk. He will have the opportunity to develop once he gets to play every day in instructional leagues. Look for Marte in our prospect rankings coming to Rays Colored Glasses this off-season.