International signing period opens today

Former J-2 Ranger signee Jurickson Profar - Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The J-2 international signing period for amateur free agents opens up today, but the Rangers will be severely limited in their ability to sign players

Today is the start of the so-called "J-2" international signing period -- the day when players who turn 17 in the coming year can be signed by major league clubs.

MLB.com has a good rundown of the J-2 period, which includes an explanation of what players are now eligible to be signed:

A 16-year-old international player is eligible to sign with a Major League team between July 2 through June 15 of next year if the prospect turns 17 before Sept. 1 of this year or by the completion of his first Minor League season. Additionally, any prospect who is already 17 or older and has not previously signed a Major or Minor League contract, resides outside the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and has not been enrolled in a high school or college in the U.S., Canada or Puerto Rico within the previous year is eligible to sign during the period.

Each team is limited to a certain amount of money that they can spend, and if they go over that amount, they have to pay penalties and have their spending restricted the following year.  The Rangers were prominent players in the J-2 market last year, inking Jose Almonte, Michael DeLeon, Marcos Diplan, and Yeyson Yrizarri to big dollar deals.  They went well over their spending cap last year, with the result being that, while the Rangers can spend up to $2.015 million this year, they cannot give any one player more than a $250,000 bonus.

That $250K cap per player keeps the Rangers out of the market for the top-tier talents, which is why we haven't talked much about this year's J-2 signing period to date...the prominent players will be priced out of the Rangers' budget.  Texas will still sign players, of course...it will just be lower profile players whose market is such that they will command a lower bonus.

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