In 2007, the Rangers procured Martin Perez and Leury Garcia, among others. In 2009, they inked Luis Sardinas, Jorge Alfaro, and some kid named Jurickson Profar, among others. In 2010, they grabbed Rougned Odor and others, and their budget-busting 2011 international signing class -- the budget-busting bit probably had more than a little bit to do with MLB's fast-approaching international spending caps -- was headlined by Nomar Mazara, Ronald Guzman, Pedro Payano, Yohander Mendez, and others, with Leonys Martin and his $15-plus million contract fitting somewhere into that puzzle.
In the year 2012, though, it's looking like a case of Jairo Beras or bust, with what may prove to be a decidedly smaller number of "others" than what we've seen the international scouting department reel in in years past, because it's the evening of July 2nd, the international signing period is underway, and the Rangers, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Jeff Wilson, "aren't planning to sign anyone," as they are working under the assumption that they have committed their international free agent signing budget to Beras and his still-unapproved $4.5 million deal. Per Jon Daniels:
"We've taken a different approach this year because we expected to use our budget on Beras. The reality is we've sat it out ... We're still hopeful to see Jairo's contract approved at some point. We're trying to be as patient and cooperative with MLB's investigation as we can."
There are a couple of different ways that one can read into these comments. You can look at these and say that, okay, they're sitting this out right now because of the abundant uncertainty on the Beras situation and whether his contract will be approved, because if his $4.5 million deal is approved under the new $2.9 million spending cap, that's obviously a big problem ... but you can also read Daniels' remarks as him saying that the plan all along was to blow the team's wad on Beras and focus little on signing any other guys. The latter, however, doesn't make much sense within the context of the Rangers' aggressive history in Latin America, so I'm definitely opting for the former.
And since the delay on the Beras decision is presumably what is keeping the Rangers out of the international market for the time being, what you're now seeing is the unfortunate fallout of that delay -- top talents in this year's July 2nd class are already flying off the shelves, as 14 of Baseball America's top 20 international prospects have already signed since midnight, and none of the top 20 were even projected to go to the Rangers as of last night, with only one (No. 10-ranked Dominican shortstop Wendell Rijo, who shares a few scouting similarities with Odor) even being linked to Texas. We knew for a long time that this was going to be a problem, but watching these concerns actualize in the form of lost opportunity is a frustrating experience.
I'd like to think that the Beras deal will be approved in relatively short order and that the Rangers can still take a shot on a few 'lottery tickets' (comparatively speaking, of course -- even the monster July 2nd talents are still just lottery tickets in a lot of ways) before the hour grows too late, but that may just be wishful thinking. Also, for what it's worth, here are parts one (published early last month) and two (published today) of Jeff Passan's exhaustive story on the Latin American amateur baseball scene, the faults in baseball's effort to control amateur bonuses, and the still-rampant corruption that influences how players and teams do business down there. Great read.
Addendum: For what it's worth, Ben Badler mentions that the Yankees -- the other team heavily linked to Wendell Rijo -- have already committed much of their $2.9 million budget with today's acquisitions, and with Rijo being considered as somebody who could sign later as opposed to earlier due to a knee issue, Badler suggests that Rijo could still end up landing with the Rangers if the Beras quandary is eventually resolved to the team's satisfaction.