SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Cuban prospect Lazaro Robersy Armenteros Arango, known as "Lazarito," is expected to sign with a Major League team next week, and the Atlanta Braves are among the teams making a strong push to acquire the teenage outfielder.
According to industry sources, the Braves are scheduled to hold a private workout for Armenteros, 16, on Saturday at the club's academy in San Pedro de Macoris. Armenteros, ranked No. 8 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list, is expected to command a signing bonus in the $15 million to $20 million range, but that number could rise if teams get into a bidding war.
More than 140 scouts attended Armenteros' showcase at the Padres' complex in San Cristobal last month. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound teen received mixed reviews. Many were impressed by his intriguing raw talent, while others wondered if that talent could translate successfully to the big leagues. Armenteros, who turns 17 in May, has been working out privately for teams during the past two weeks.
Armenteros, who is subject to the international signing guidelines because of his age and experience, was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball on Jan. 8, and he is expected to make a decision on his future when he becomes eligible to sign with a team starting Feb. 10.
There are currently nine teams with serious interest in Armenteros, and he is expected to decide whether he will sign during the current international signing period that started July 2, 2015, or wait until the next international signing period begins this July 2, according to sources.
The Cubs, Dodgers, Giants and Royals -- who will not be able to sign any pool-eligible prospects for more than $300,000 for the next two international signing periods after exceeding their bonus pools this year -- are among the teams still in play for Armenteros if he chooses to sign during the current period. The Angels, D-backs, Rays, Red Sox and Yankees are already in the maximum penalty after exceeding their bonus pools last year.
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.