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Monday newsletter time: Rangers make splash as international signing period opens

(Twitter/Vladimir Guerrero)

 

No one should take their eyes off the prize Sunday from the Rangers’ haul on the first day of the international signing period.

The Rangers landed the No. 8 overall prospect in the 2023 class, shortstop Sebastian Walcott from the Bahamas. He’s an athletic 6-foot-3 shortstop with the potential to hit for average and power.

According to MLB.com, Walcott could eventually be mentioned with Miami second baseman Jazz Chisholm as the best players to come from the Bahamas.

Walcott bagged a bonus worth $3.2 million. Not bad for a 16-year-old.

But the signing that grabbed the headlines is Pablo Guerrero, son of Vladimir Guerrero and brother of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Pablo isn’t the prospect his older brother was, hence the $100,000 bonus, but they are similar in size and look similar in the batter’s box. Pablo doesn’t have the same polish as Vlad Jr., but is as mature and could grow into a quality all-around hitter.

The Rangers signed two other prospects to bonuses in the low six figures. Cuban outfielder Geisel Cepeda, who turns 25 on Tuesday and has played professionally in Cuba, received $200,000, and outfielder Braylin Morel, a 17-year-old from the Dominican Republic, bagged $100,000.

The Rangers signed 17 players, six of them right-handed pitchers. They also signed a player from Italy, infielder Williams Wong.

Arbitration avoided x 5

Another year, another year without any arbitration drama for the Rangers, who haven’t been to a hearing in 23 years.

The Rangers settled Friday with all five of their arbitration-eligible players ā€” first baseman Nate Lowe ($4.05 million), right-hander Jonathan Hernandez ($995,000), catcher Mitch Garver ($3.9 million) and left-handers Taylor Hearn ($1,462,500) and Brett Martin ($1,275,000).

All but Garver had agreed to their 2023 contracts before happy hour ended. Garver agreed late at night after the Rangers Today staff had gone to sleep.

It wasn’t all good news. Martin needs surgery on his left shoulder and will miss time this season. How much will be determined after the operation this week.

His injury creates an opening in the bullpen, which could be bloated on Opening Day on March 30. The Rangers are off March 31, so they could go until April 5 before they would need their fifth starter. That starter could be replaced by a reliever for the first five games.

ICYMI …

Things are going to be picking up now that we’re a month away from the start of spring training. Rangers pitchers and catchers report Feb. 14, their first workout is Feb. 15, and the first full-squad workout is Feb. 20. That’s going to fly by. In the meantime, the Rangers are still trying to acquire a left fielder and possibly a reliever or two before camp opens. So, now is a good time to remind everyone to subscribe to Rangers Today for $5.99 a month, $35 for six months or $60 for a year. It’s good and cheap. Don’t believe me? Here’s our latest in case you missed it.

The Sunday Read: The Untouchables?

Friday on the Farm: Pitching mini-camp this week

Winter Caravan is back and under way

Rangers Today Baseball Podcast welcomes Bobby Wilson

Subscribe to the podcast’s YouTube channel

 

Doggy video!

This dog is brilliant. Enjoy.

 

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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