This is one of several blog posts we'll have over the next few days leading into the MLB Draft, which starts Monday.
It's no secret that the Rangers' current ownership situation means the club won't be drafting another Matt Purke and trying to go well above slot to sign a first-round pick.
It means that now more than ever, the Rangers want players who have a high signability factor. But it's not just the financial situation that makes that critical. The club's No. 15 overall pick is because they couldn't get Purke signed last year. But if they don't sign that player they take at No. 15 this year, they'll lose that pick for good. So the Rangers must find a player they like who is willing to sign.
"We don’t have the leverage of not getting the pick and not getting it back," Daniels said. "You never go into a negotiation hoping to get the pick back. I think this year’s draft is different. A lot of the players we expect could be there and we like are players that we think are signable for that area. So I don’t think it’s going to be a deterrent. We’re going to be excited about the guy we get at 15 and not worried about the restriction."
As for the other picks -- the Rangers have four selections in the top 49 -- the club can't break the bank on any of them. They have an internal budget for signings, which includes the international players. That budget, like nearly anything the Rangers have done in the last year, was approved by MLB. They aren't likely to allow the club to spend any more money than already in that budget.
So Kip Fagg, director of amateur scouting, has made sure that his scouts have done every bit of research they possibly could.
"We’re as prepared as we’ve ever been on the makeup side," Daniels said. "How well do you know them? Do they want to play baseball? Do they want to be a Ranger?"
Fagg said scouts have met with families and really tried to get to know the players the club is the most interested in to get an idea of whether they were ready to play professional baseball.
"It’s up to our scouts," Fagg said. "We have guys out in the field. We go see players. I wouldn't say we recruit players, but only certain kids are ready for the grind of professional baseball. We forge relationships with kids and family and make sure they are ready for the pro game. The guys that are ready are the guys we want."
Daniels didn't want to focus on last year, but said the club offered everything they could to Purke and it was "well above slot.".
"Ultimately, it wasn’t enough to get it done," Daniels said. "We never go in looking to spend above slot. You’re trying to get the best players. There are occassions where we have gone above it and our track record is good about being judicious and prudent about it. The budget, which is different than slot, is what we’re bound by. That obviously has some different ramifications given the status of the club at this point."
So there you go. We'll have more on the draft in the next few days. Stay tuned.