Today is July 2, which means it is the start of the signing period for international free agents. 16 year olds can start officially signing the deals that many of them have had in place for months or longer.
The Texas Rangers have reportedly signed five international free agents so far. Venezuelan shortstop Keyber Rodriguez, the #24 prospect on the Baseball America list and the #19 prospect on the MLB.com list, has signed for $1 million. Venezuelan outfielder Wilderd Patino, #25 on the MLB.com list and #27 on the BA list, has signed for $1.2 million. Damian Mendoza, a righthanded pitcher who is #27 on the MLB.com list and from Mexico, has signed for $1 million. Venezuelan RHP Orcelis Gomez has reportedly signed for $500,000, and Venezuelan shortstop Derwin Barretto has signed for $335,000. Dominican Republic catcher Randy Florentino has apparently signed, but the amount is not available currently.
Rodriguez is a switch-hitting shortstop who has little power but a nice hit tool, and who BA praises for his instincts and athleticism.
Patino is described as one of the best athletes in the J-2 class, a true center fielder who BA says is a plus-plus runner, but who has questions about his bat.
Mendoza is described as a strike-thrower who touches 92 mph with his fastball and can throw his curve and changeup for strikes.
The Rangers’ total is $4.75 million — that’s the pool for all teams that aren’t eligible for the competitive balance draft, with those other teams having pools of $5.25 million or $5.75 million. Under the rules, any amount that the foreign team a free agent plays for receives is exempt from the bonus pool, and indications are that Mendoza’s Mexican League team will get 75% of his $1 million bonus, so that reduces the outlay there.
Assuming that is the case, the Rangers have spent $3.285 million of their available $4.75 million so far. The Rangers can opt to trade for additional pool money, and presumably will of Shohei Ohtani comes over this winter, and is subject to the bonus pool.
UPDATE -- Evan Grant says the Rangers have signed three more players, with the big money guy being 20 year old Cuban shortstop Disobel Arias, for $700,000. Centerfielder Ronier Lazcarro signed for $320,000 and shortstop Angelo George got $85,000.