The 2018-19 J-2 signing period, where major league teams can officially sign sixteen year old international free agents who are now eligible to sign, kicks off today, and as expected, July 2, 2018, finds the Texas Rangers with agreements in place with several amateurs.
Per Ben Badler and the Baseball America international signing tracker, the Rangers have deals in place currently with three free agents: Venezuelan catcher Jose Rodriguez, Venezuelan shortstop Luisangel Acuna, and Dominican Republic shortstop Junior Paniagua. Rodriguez is the #36 prospect on the Baseball America international free agent rankings list, and #21 on the MLB Pipeline list. Acuna is the younger brother of Atlanta Braves star prospect Ronald Acuna.
Per MLB Pipeline, Rodriguez got a $2 million bonus from the Rangers, while Acuna got a $425,000. Those two signings account for roughly half of the Rangers’ $4,983,500 bonus pool, though they can also trade for up to another 75% of that pool allotment number.
More prospects will, no doubt, be added by the Rangers in the next few days. In addition, the top international free agent, Cuban Victor Mesa (who goes by Victor Victor), is not yet eligible to sign, and its possible the Rangers may be holding back a certain amount of their international bonus pool money to possibly make a run at him, once he is cleared.
UPDATE — Added to the signing list from BA is Leandro Gonzalez, outfielder from Venezuela.
UPDATE — More agreements from BA: Arthur Sabino, RHP, Brazil, Abel Noguera, C, Venezuela, and Frankely Hurtado, SS, Dominican Republic. Hurtado got $235,000, per BA