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Giants still co-favorites to sign Eddy Martinez, top Cuban prospect

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The other co-favorites are the Dodgers. Shudder.

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The Giants might not be done after signing Lucius Fox. Because the Giants are already way over their allotted spending cap, they can't sign an international prospect for more than $300,000 in each the next two signing periods, which means the Giants probably aren't done. They can spend the majority of their international budget for the next three years, considering this is their only chance to spend. They might want to blow away the cap, seeing as they're already being punished.

If the cops are surrounding the convenience store you're robbing, you might as well steal some Ho-Hos and eat them, that's what I say. Enter Eddy Martinez, 20-year-old Cuban outfielder. He has the tantalizing comp.

It's still up in the air if outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez is the second coming of former All-Star outfielder Andruw Jones, as some scouts have said. What's certain is that Martinez has been the center of attention in the international scouting community since he became eligible last month.

He's linked to the Giants again. And Dodgers. But it was assumed that the Dodgers had a death grip on both Martinez and Fox last month, and the Giants swooped in and stole Fox from them. They're trying to do it again, according to MLB.com:

The Dodgers and Giants, the two teams that went head to head for (infielder) Lucius Fox, ranked No. 3 on the international list, have each scheduled more private workouts for Martinez this week, and Los Angeles and San Francisco appear to be the front-runners.

In addition to gap-to-gap power, Martinez supposedly has good range in center, with a solid arm and heady instincts. He also likes to take the extra base and run real hard-like. Sounds like Puig 2.1, with an update to solve the pants full of bees. You can't let the Dodgers have that. You just can't.

More practically, signing a 20-year-old prospect isn't exactly the same as signing a 16-year-old. The older the player, the more of a known quantity he becomes. The Giants haven't had a 20-year-old in the majors since Conor Gillaspie, and while that was because he was a difficult sign after the draft, it's not unusual to see 21- and 22-year-olds in the majors. Heck, Hector Sanchez was 21 when he was called up for the first time. Which is to say that Martinez might help sooner, rather than later, and whatever nutty amount he gets might be from a team counting on that. He probably isn't an ultra-raw prospect who needs five years of the deep minors.

So ... get him, Giants? If the Dodgers are after him, too, I'll trust that Martinez is an excellent prospect. Not that the Giants' organization hasn't proven its worth, but the Dodgers have done some fine work with their international scouting in recent years, and it's not like Logan White took the manual with him. If they both agree that Martinez is worthwhile, he probably is, and the Dodgers are so fat and bloated with expensive, talented prospects, maybe they'll get annoyed and walk away from this one. A fella can dream.

Considering that three weeks ago, it was still unlikely for the Giants to sign a major international prospect, the news of Fox combined with the Martinez rumors makes this an exciting time to be a prospect nerd. I heard that Tommy Lasorda stands over the bed of every single Dodgers signee for a night, just so he can inhale their essence. Hey, it's just what I heard, but it sure rings true. Nothing like that happens with the Giants.

The San Francisco Giants: Where you're absolutely *guaranteed* to not have Tommy Lasorda lick one thing in your fridge and put it back when you're not looking.

Good job, marketing. The Dodgers can't guarantee that, they just can't. The choice seems clear to me. And that's why there's still a chance that the Giants could add one more international super-prospect in the next couple months. That, and lots and lots and lots of money.