There's no question the issue of players providing false documents and tampering with their ages has to be stopped when it comes to international players. The issue seems to be particularly difficult in Latin America, where players' ages seem to fluctuate between birthdays at times.
The Rangers, like the other MLB clubs, know it's a problem. So Texas takes extra care when it comes to top players they'd like to sign to be sure they know everything they can about them -- including triple-checking their ages.
General manager Jon Daniels said Thursday that all the clubs, including Texas, received a roster of potential prospects at a camp in the Dominican Republic last December or January. MLB listed the ages of the players using the information they had. But it stated on the document that the ages and identities were not verified. That's where the extra work comes in. It said Jairo Beras was 16.
The Rangers, though, kept digging. They wanted to find out everything they could about a player that they were considering making a sizeable investment in and discovered he was 17. That made him eligible to sign prior to the July 2 date of the new international signing rules per the new CBA. The Rangers pounced, handing him $4.5 million signing bonus. And after four months, MLB upheld the contract.
No, it's not right that players can falsify documents and fake ages. Beras' one-year suspension is aimed at trying to do something about that. But MLB couldn't penalize the Rangers for digging around, doing the extra work and signing a player that was eligible to sign.
It's one more example of the staff the Rangers have in place and, frankly, their style. To get this done, it takes scouts on the ground working hard to find information. Then, it takes ownership willing to write the checks. The Rangers have both. They also seem willing to get involved in everything, just to be sure they haven't left a good deal or a good player on the table.
It's why you'll hear them associated with every good player at the trade deadline. They've got the minor league system to make a deal and their approach is that every offer is at least listened to and considered.
Score another one for the Rangers and their attention to detail. In a year, when Beras starts playing, we'll start to see if he was worth the investment.