FORT WORTH, Texas – Cuban defector Leonys Martin has finalized a $15.5 million, five-year contract with the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers formally announced the deal with the speedy outfielder Wednesday. The contract, the second-largest for a Cuban defector, includes a $5 million signing bonus and salaries of $500,000 this year, $1.25 million in 2012, $2.25 million in 2013, $2.75 million in 2014 and $3.75 million in 2015.
Hard-throwing left-hander Aroldis Chapman got a $30.25 million, six-year deal from Cincinnati Reds in January 2010.
Texas will start Martin at extended spring training in Surprise, Ariz. The outfielder had already been working out this week at the team's complex there waiting for the deal to be completed.
Martin, who played for Cuba in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, took a physical for the Rangers several weeks ago, but the deal has been held up while the team waited for State Department approval. The 6-foot-1 outfielder throws right-handed and bats left-handed.
Martin defected last summer after playing for Cuba's national team in Japan at the FISU World University Championships.
During that tournament, he hit .450 (9 for 20) with two doubles, 14 runs and eight walks.
Martin had a .314 batting average over the past five seasons for Villa Clara in the Cuban League. In 82 games last season, he hit .326 with 23 doubles, 10 home runs and 48 RBIs.
Right-hander Ramon Aguero was designated for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Martin.
Texas has 10 days to trade, release or send Aguero outright to the minor leagues. The Rangers got Aguero from Pittsburgh on a waiver claim April 8, and he was a combined 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in five appearances for Triple-A Round Rock and Double-A Frisco.