Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports, Major League Baseball will uphold the $4.5 million signing bonus that commits Dominican outfielder Jairo Beras to the Texas Rangers organization despite several discrepancies surrounding the player’s age. In addition, MLB will also suspend Beras for one year after determining that the prospect lied, at some point, about how old he was.
As you may recall, the Rangers surprised the entirety of the baseball world by signing Beras in February. It was believed that Beras was 16 years old by MLB as Beras himself reported that he was 16 years old at workouts for teams.
The Rangers did additional leg work, and discovered that he is actually 17 years old. This sort of thing can happen in the Dominican due to it being the wild west and an inconsistent system of keeping medical records.
What is the big deal?
Well, at 16 years old, Beras could not be signed until the July 2nd signing period, and he would be available to all teams, though teams would have to sign him under their $2.9 million international spending cap. At 17 years old, Beras could sign with anyone for any dollar amount.
It appears that MLB believes that Beras lied about his age until it became apparent that he stood to make out better by claiming to be his real age. This was due to the limitations on international free agent signings being put into place by changes in the collective bargaining agreement. By signing prior to the July 2nd deadline, Beras didn’t have to worry about caps on spending for individual teams.
Under the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement, teams have been limited to a $2.9 million total budget for signing bonuses for international amateurs. If teams go over the limit, they’re subject to a harsh tax and restrictions on international signings in future years. However, those rules didn’t go into effect until July 2, so players who signed before then, like Beras and Jorge Soler of the Chicago Cubs, were able to do so under the old system with no restrictions.
Once he signs with the Rangers, the 17-year old will join a stock pile of high-ceiling, talented teenagers in the Rangers farm system. Currently raking in the Arizona Rookie league is Joey Gallo, as well as Lewis Brinson, Ronald Guzman, and Nomar Mazara. And we must not forget “the Legend” Jorge Alfaro.
The Rangers outworked everyone on this, and Beras will likely jump to the Number Three prospect in the extremely talented system behind Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt.
Given the development path of Beras, who won’t be expected in an MLB lineup for sometime, the suspension is really nominal. He won’t be allowed to participate in games until July 1, 2013 and even better news, MLB imposed no sanctions on the Rangers.
This has officially made my day.