The Rangers have agreed to a deal with Cuban infielder Andy Ibanez, Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram reports on Twitter. Last we checked in, the 22-year-old had changed his representation to Relativity Baseball.
Ibanez’s deal with Texas is worth $1.6MM, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter). That figure means that the Rangers have spent $4.2MM of the roughly $4.5MM they have to spend after acquiring the aforementioned bonus slots. Texas recently added to its international pool via trade, and it could well be that the club was lining itself up to add Ibanez, who is subject to the international signing restrictions.
Ibanez has been available for some time, but was somewhat surprisingly slow to sign. Generally credited as a solid all-around player who lacks any outstanding tools, Ibanez has long been expected to command a significant bonus, as Ben Badler of Baseball America wrote some time back. Ibanez put up back-to-back .800+ OPS years in his two most recent campaigns in Serie Nacional.
$1.6MM is quite an attractive price for Ibanez. Badler is on record with the view that Ibanez is a better prospect than $8MM man Roberto Baldoquin, who cost the Angels double that to sign (with penalties included) along with the sacrifice of future signing opportunities.