Time to take our amateur signing bonus series to Texas, the home of the defending AL champs…
- Mark Teixeira, $4.5MM (2001)
- Justin Smoak, $3.5MM (2008)
- John Danks, $2.1MM (2003)
- Vince Sinisi, $2.07MM (2003)
- Thomas Diamond, $2.025MM (2004)
The Rangers just finished the single greatest season in franchise history, but just one of the above players directly contributed to that cause. That would be Justin Smoak, who reached the big leagues just two years after being drafted 11th overall. He hit just .209/.316/.353 in 275 plate appearances for Texas before headlining the four prospect package that went to Seattle for Cliff Lee in early July.
Teixeira, the fifth overall pick back in 2001, contributed to the team's success this year, though in an indirect way. His bonus was part of a four-year, $9.5MM major league contract, the largest ever given to an amateur position player at the time (the record stood until Bryce Harper showed up this year). Tex was massively productive for the Rangers, hitting .283/.368/.533 with 153 homers in four-plus seasons before being traded the Atlanta. That haul netted the Rangers their current starting shortstop (Elvis Andrus) and closer (Neftali Feliz), not to mention another useful arm in Matt Harrison and their Opening Day catcher (Jarrod Saltalamacchia). That return is the gold standard when it comes to moving superstars.
Texas took Danks with the ninth overall pick in 2003, and he pitched to a 4.20 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 426.1 minor league innings for the team before they traded him and two others to the White Sox for Brandon McCarthy and a minor league in December 2006. Now one of the best starters in the game, Danks never pitched in a game for the team that drafted him.
Sinisi was the 46th overall pick in the same 2003 draft that netted the team Danks, but his career wasn't nearly as productive. He hit .293/.354/.423 in 909 plate appearances with Texas' various minor league affiliates before being traded to the Padres in a May 2006 deal that barely registered on the radar. It brought Freddy Guzman to the Rangers, and Sinisi hasn't played since becoming a minor league free agent after 2009. He never reached the big leagues, and spent three uneventful years in Triple-A.
Diamond was part of the team's highly touted DVD trio of pitching prospects along with Edinson Volquez and Danks. He was the tenth overall pick in the '04 draft and dominated in the minors (3.62 ERA, 10.6 K/9, 4.4 BB/9) before missing the entire 2007 season due to Tommy John surgery. Despite the procedure's high success rate, Diamond never fully regained his stuff nor his already shaky control. The Rangers designated him for assignment last September, after which the Cubs claimed him. Diamond did finally make it to the big leagues this year, making three starts with a 6.83 ERA for the Cubbies.