ARLINGTON -- The Rangers increased their international bonus pool money by $1 million in a trade with the White Sox on Wednesday. The trade will help the Rangers finalize the signing of international free agent outfielder Bayron Lora.
The Rangers acquired the bonus pool money along with pitcher Nate Jones from the White Sox for Minor League pitchers Joseph Jarneski and Ray Castro. Jones will go on the 60-day injured list for the Rangers, having undergone surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right forearm on May 13.
The Rangers agreed with Lora to a $4.2 million signing bonus on July 1, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, but the deal has yet to be announced because the club needed to add international slot money. That was the impetus of Wednesday’s deal.
Jones is an eight-year veteran who was 0-1 with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP in 13 games before undergoing surgery. He has a 3.12 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in 284 career games across eight seasons with the White Sox.
He is signed for $4,650,000 this season with a club option of $5.15 million for next year with a $1.25 million buyout. The Rangers will decline that option, but he could be a candidate for a Minor League contract in Spring Training.
When Jones is healthy, he has a fastball that is clocked at 97 mph. He is also considered to be an excellent asset in the clubhouse and would be a welcome addition to any team. Jones has made it clear that he intends to pitch next season.
“No, no, no. That’s the whole reason we went down this path with the surgery, to go ahead and get in there and get it fixed,” Jones said after the surgery. “When I’m out here and I’m healthy, I’m getting guys out. That’s the name of the game. I feel strong. I feel good with where I’m at, and I’m not ready to call it quits yet.”
Jarneski, 19, has appeared in 10 games with the Arizona Rookie League Rangers this season, going 2-0 with a 1.62 ERA and 16 strikeouts. Castro, 22, is 4-0 with a 2.02 ERA in nine appearances (seven starts) this season with the Dominican Summer League Rangers.
This trade is all about Lora, who was the No. 3 prospect on MLB.com’s Top 30 International Prospects list this summer. At 6-foot-3 and almost 200 pounds, Lora is tall, strong and what evaluators like to see in corner outfielders, according to Sanchez.
At the plate, he has lots of raw power and excellent bat speed. The 16 year old hits everything hard, high and often far to all fields. Like most players his age, Lora is still tweaking his swing, but he has good mechanics at the plate and a feel for the strike zone.
On defense, he reads the ball well off the bat and has shown flashes of solid, average arm strength. He displays proper mechanics in the outfield and has the potential to be an overall average defender in the future.
He can also run -- he’s been clocked at 6.7 seconds in the timed 60-yard run -- and he’s a smart baserunner who does not clog up the bases.