The early buzz on Cuban 16-year-old prospect Lazaro Armenteros, also known as “Lazarito”, was something out of a comic book. He drew comparisons to Bo Jackson and Willie Mays. One Japanese team has reportedly offered him $15M (whether that’s just the signing bonus, or an actual contract for X number of years is unknown).

With all of the shedding of payroll by the Cincinnati Reds amid their retooling for 2016 and perhaps 2017, one train of thought was that they could reinvest some of that on young international players. Armenteros is not yet eligible to be signed by a Major League team. He may not be until July 2nd, which would push him into the following signing season, which would remove several teams from being able to sign him. It would also allow a few teams that are currently unable to sign him to get back into the game as their punishment would be over.

It would benefit the Reds significantly if he were unable to sign until the next period begins on July 2nd. Allotted spending money is set up by records the previous year and with the Reds having the second worst record, it will drastically increase the amount of money that they can spend before facing penalties. Those penalties are something that the Reds seem to have avoided like the plague since they were instituted, never having gone over to sign a big named player. They have been linked to several players who would have put them over that limit in the past, so they aren’t exactly ignoring that market, but have yet to pull the trigger on such a player.

Over the weekend, the first open workout was held for the 16-year-old. He hasn’t played in a game since he was 14-years-old, but scouts already knew who he was at that point in time. He’s already got a grown man’s body, standing at 6′ 2″ and 205 lbs. The workout left a few different opinions, according to ESPN writer Eric Longenhagen:

Being unable to play center field, despite being a 60-70 runner is certainly interesting to see. With that kind of speed, he’d have to be the worst route runner around or have no clue how to read the ball off of the bat. Things that you can improve on at age 16, so it’s certainly interesting to read into that line of thinking. It’s also worth noting that there are mixed reports, but it seems outside of his speed being plus, we are only getting some of the negative stuff here.

In another report, this one from Sabor809.com (a Dominican news organization), also had some mixed reviews reported. One report called him out of shape, while another wanted to see him for a second time. He could probably use GPLC supplements for exercising and his fitness coach should include it in his regimen. There were even two reports that saw him as a potential superstar.

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12 Responses

  1. The Duke

    I’m not surprised he had a lot of rust not playing the last 18 months. I’m more interested if he showed the natural athleticism, and how his swing looked. Kids can get in shape, and what he needs more than anything is a stable environment and reps. Whomever signs him should bring him stateside and give him a year or two in the lower rookie leagues.

    • MK

      Similarly that could have been his issue with routesto the ball in the outfield

  2. Clint

    I am hoping that the Reds sign Yaisel Sierra. Then they would have Raisel and Yaisel. I can already envision a cool promotional bobblehead from those two.

    • Doug Gray

      Doubtful. Duran was either 6′ 5″ and 6′ 6″ when he signed at 16 depending on which report you want to stick with.

  3. Champ Summers

    Ken Rosenthal ?@Ken_Rosenthal 5s6 seconds ago

    Source: Cuban phenom Lazarito Armenteros cleared by MLB, eligible to sign starting Feb. 10. Corner OF/IF, 16 years old.

  4. AWa85

    Do we know a ballpark number on this contact? Reds have done well with pitching from Cuba, would love to see them hit big on a bat once.

  5. William Knight

    Do we know how much the Reds can spend w/out exceeding their 2015-16 international limit?

    • The Duke

      not much. Him being eligible this year essentially means he’s going to a top 4 market. Dodgers, Cubs, or Yankees most likely.

    • Doug Gray

      We don’t know an exact amount, but they had a pool number of $2,873,000. We know for a fact that they’ve spent at least $1,600,000 of that on two players, so it’s realistic they have spent at least another few hundred thousand on players. So, they’ve probably got, at best, $1,000,000 to spend.

      • Hoyce

        Reds just signed a Cuban SS for $6 million. They are def over the limit