The Braves are now all in on Cuban OF Lazaro Robersy Armenteros Arango, nicknamed “Lazarito.” The teenage phenom has a number of teams bidding for his services, and Coppolella and company may attempt to clear salary to offer the 16 year old a lucrative contract.
Lazarito was ranked 8th in the 2015 International Prospects ranking, and the Braves liked what they saw at the private workout with him in Cuba. A bidding war is likely to ensue, and his price will be driven through the roof. Here’s Lazarito by the numbers:
2014 Season: .462, 6 HRs, 3 2Bs, 5 3Bs, 8 RBIs and 12 SBs. Lazarito collected 42 hits in 38 games, (Mlb.com)
Regarded as a 5 tool player, signing Lazarito would fill all of the needs in Atlanta’s organization if Maitan and Gutierrez follow suit. Signing all three of these prospects will be expensive, with the Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Angels, and other big market teams being penalized for going over their cap, the Braves have less competition. If you can recall, the Braves made a slew of small moves at the deadline last year to avoid a penalty on last year. This year, they don’t care. They are going to break the bank on these three guys, and live with the result. International signings have been fruitful these past few years, and these 3 are the diamond jewels of their class,
Harrison Coburn listed a few trades that the Braves could make that would improve the team and clear around $22 million, and you can read that here: https://sportstalkatl.com/predicting-midseason-trades-for-the-braves-in-2016/.
The catch with “Lazarito” is that the Braves will have to convince him to wait until July 2nd to sign, despite being able to sign as soon as possible. The hope would be that the Braves’ “handshake agreement” with Kevin Maitan and strong links to Abraham Gutierrez could persuade him to sign with a team that appears to have the makings of a future dynasty. Nevertheless, it is surely exciting to see the team pursue the hyped prospect.