Updating Texas's J-2 Free Agent Signings

The Rangers signed four amateur international free agents earlier today — RHP Marcos Diplan ($1.3 million), SS Yeyson Yrizzarri ($1.35 million),  OF Jose Almonte ($1.8 million) and SS/2B Michael De Leon (whose figure is not yet known).

Here you can get up-to-date details on all things J-2.

Interestingly enough, even without knowledge of the Rangers’ financial commitment to De Leon, they have already dropped $4.45 million into the other three prospects — which is substantially more than their $1.94 million spending pool.

According to the new (weird and dumb) process — within the umbrella of the Collective Bargaining Agreement — team are allowed to trade slot values with other teams, but only up to 50% more than their spending pool. In this case, if we round the original $1.94 million figure up to an even $2 million, then jack that number up by 50%, the Rangers would be within their rights to invest up to $3 million on international prospects without penalty*.

* Teams that go over their allotted cap limit are subject to either (a) a 100% tax on every cent they spend over the cap [plus only having only a $250K limit the following season]  or (b) will forfeit their 1st and 2nd round picks the year after the offense occurred, given the likelihood of an international draft happening for the 1st time next season.

You can read more about the complexities of the new paradigm here, as well as see just how much each of the 120 slots are valued at.

According to Adam Morris of Lonestarball, “Dionisio Soldevila is reporting on Twitter that sources are saying the Rangers acquired bonus pool space from the Marlins.”

At this point it’s unknown just how much pool space the Rangers acquired, which isn’t a surprise given how quiet Jon Daniels & Co. typically stay during this time of the year. What we do know is that the ~$3 million I mentioned above is the absolute maximum Texas could spend without breaking these new funky rules MLB has issued.

In other words, regardless how much capital was ultimately shed on Michael De Leon, and regardless how much money the Rangers received from the Marlins, Jon Daniels made it clear that the players were worth it, so penalties be damned. It also suggests the front office isn’t particularly thrilled about the 2014-2015 crop of international free agents, because by virtue of overspending on this year’s crop, the Rangers are essentially forfeiting their fiscal leverage on the foreign market until 2015.

We have seen these types of ballsy moves from Jon Daniels and the Ranger front office for awhile now, especially regarding their valuations of foreign talent. Even last year there was the Great Jairo Beras Mystery. In recent years they’ve committed a ton of money to amateurs like Ronald Guzman ($3.45 million), Nomar Mazara ($4.95 million) and Leonys Martin ($15 million) … and this is before mentioning their most prized of all prized acquisitions: Yu Darvish.

If we are aware of anything when it comes to the Rangers Brain Trust, they don’t do things just to do them. By dumping this kind of money into something that cosmetically appears more like a small-time crapshoot, it’s clear they are attempting to exploit a market inefficiency. After all, this is what the Tampa Bay Rays did last year, which is why they aren’t currently linked to any of the top-30 prospects.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make a flakey connection between Jon Daniels of the Rangers and Andrew Friedman of the Rays, but, objectively speaking, they are considered two of the game’s best, most aggressive general managers. It shouldn’t be surprising that their actions mirror one another.

But what am I really talking about here? We probably won’t hear anything from these 16 year-olds for at least 5 or 6 years, if they even make it at all.

I guess I just felt like working out the process in my own head, and it happened to wind up in word-form. Oh well.

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