The Rangers were not at all happy about losing out on 16-year-old Dominican right-hander Michael Inoa to the A’s last week, and not just because Inoa cited Oakland’s better pitching-development program as his reason for signing with them.
The Rangers felt like the A’s, who gave Inoa a $4.25 million signing bonus, most ever to a non-Cuban pitcher from Latin America, violated the rules by cutting an early deal with the 6-foot-7, 205-pounder.
According to MLB rules, teams are not even allowed to discuss money with players before the July 2 deadline. The Rangers were prepared to offer a larger signing bonus — well over $5 million, according to some reports — and word on the street is that afterward Inoa’s agent told a Rangers official that they would have taken the bigger deal if they had known it was coming and hadn’t already committed to the A’s.
If that’s true, then the deal was always more about money than about pitcher-development reputations. The Rangers had the same scout who signed Edinson Volquez, the hottest Latin American pitcher in the majors, on the case.
The Rangers had been scouting Inoa for more than two years and felt like they knew him as well or better than any team out there.
Inoa is supposed to be the real deal, and some scouts believe he’s the best Latin American pitching prospect to come along since Seattle’s Felix Hernandez.
MLB generally ignores Latin American rules violations, but there are whispers that it may look into the A’s signing of Inoa.