Did the Texas Rangers overpay for two Latin American prospects?

Texas Rangers owner Nolan Ryan is taking a little heat for for doling out $9 million on two teenage prospects. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Over the weekend, the Texas Rangers, along with the rest of baseball, had their chance to sign some of the best Latin America talent money could buy.

So, Nolan Ryan and company decided they were going to spend almost $9 million on two different players and both no older than 16 years of age.

Ronald Guzman, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound outfielder, was signed for $3.5 million but the one thing that has some people scratching their heads is the part of his scouting report that says “below average arm and speed.” I know $3.5 million isn’t much at all in the grand scheme of things as far as baseball is concerned, but for a guy listed as “below average” it seems a little steep.

While some are curious about the signing of Guzman, there are even more who are talking about another 16-year old outfielder.

At 6-foot-5 and 185 pounds, 16-year-old Nomar Mozara received a signing bonus of more than $5 million, topping the Oakland Athletics who signed Michael Ynoa for $4.25 million back in 2008.

His scouting report, however, is much different from that of Guzman’s. He’s being called one of the best Latin American hitters since Wily Mo Pena and … Miguel Cabrera? That’s high praise for a 16-year-old who’s yet to prove anything in the states.

You might remember Cabrera being signed by the Florida Marlins for $1.8 million back in 1999.

Shan Shariff, one half of ‘New School’ on 105.3 FM The Fan in Dallas, Texas called Mozara’s signing “irresponsible” and is of the opinion that the Rangers should not be giving a 16-year old kid $5 million.

While I understand Shariff’s opinion, I will respectfully disagree with his assessment for one simple reason. Had the Rangers not signed this young athlete, who has a ton of potential, there would have been another team who snatched him up for almost the same cost.

Why is that a bad thing? Because Mozara — due to the Rangers have this kind of luck, or lack thereof — would have become a huge star and the media in Dallas and Fort Worth would be calling Texas’ front office “irresponsible” for not signing him in the first place.

How could they have missed out on a prospect being called the next “Miguel Cabrera?”

It’s easy to knock the Rangers for signing a teenager for what he might be able to do instead of holding your opinion until he either makes it or he washes out.

I’m in favor of this team and its front office doing exactly what they did. I believe they do their due diligence on the players they sign. If this were a group led by former owner Tom Hicks, then I’d probably be questioning the decision as well.

But with Nolan Ryan leading the charge, I know he has a group of scouts and advisers who know the kind of players this franchise needs going forward.

Heck, there were those who blasted the Tampa Bay Rays for signing one Josh Hamilton out of high school. Say what you want about his past, he became the star the Rays had envisioned from the moment they signed him.

So before we pass judgement on the signing of Mozara or Guzman, let’s wait and see how these two players shape out before we call anyone “irresponsible.”

It’s better than having to eat those words later.

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