Few smiles are bigger and brighter than the those of draftees who have just inked their first major league contract.
The home dugout at Globe Life Park in Arlington was filled with three such smiles from second, third and fourth round draft picks Ti’Quan Forbes, Josh Morgan and Brett Martin, who got a taste of the Big League dream after officially joining the organization.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime feeling, you can’t really put it into words. It’s been a dream since I was little, and it’s finally here.” Martin said.
With a quick cursive insignia on paper in the field-level basement of the Rangers’ Ballpark, the recent draftees are making a lot more money than they were even a day ago.
“It’s great to sign the contract and be part of the Rangers ball club,” said Morgan, who signed a $800 thousand deal early Tuesday afternoon. “I’m kind of setting the money aside and trying to get [to the major league ballpark]. Then I’ll make the big bucks.”
Forbes signed a contract for $1.2 million, while fourth-rounder Martin signed for $475 thousand.
Morgan went from sitting at home with his mom and dad on Friday to sitting in the dugout at Globe Life Park Tuesday. He said he didn’t know the Rangers were going to pick him until Friday morning.
“It’s crazy, it was a fast process,” he said. “I got drafted on Friday and left on Sunday.”
Martin, the oldest of the three selections introduced Tuesday at 19 years old, spent his afternoon in the dugout enjoying the major league atmosphere.
“I’m just here trying to take it all in,” Martin said, sitting comfortably on the same bench the Texas Rangers use. “I could sit here and do nothing all day and be completely happy, just watching everybody do their thing. I love it.”
The three signees toured the stadium and the clubhouse, and met Rangers manager Ron Washington.
“He’s a very nice guy and I like the way he approaches the game,” Forbes said. “Hopefully we’ll learn a lot from him.”
Long-time mentor for Martin
Martin will have a familiar face when he heads to the Arizona League. His former pitching coach at Walters State Community College in Tennessee, Joey Seaver, is now a pitching coach with the Rangers’ organization.
Martin said Seaver has told him what to expect in the first step of professional ball.
“I’ve worked with him since I was about 12,” Martin said. “He’s kind of like another father figure.”
Morgan and Martin found out they will be rooming together once they get to Arizona.
Middle infield pipeline
Forbes, an Ole Miss commit, and Morgan, who was committed to UCLA, are the most recent additions to an organization rich in middle infielders. It's a club that currently has middle infielders Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas on the major league roster before their intended time.
The possibility of a position change exists for the recent middle infield draftees, who were shortstops in high school.
“I want to play shortstop all my life,” Forbes said. “But if they want to move me around I would be down for it, I’ll play wherever they need me. Especially when you get to the Big Leagues, you have to move around and show your athleticism.”
Morgan said he will play any position and do whatever it takes to get to the major leagues, but that no discussion has been had about a move to the outfield or any other position.
All three signees completed physicals and signed their contract Tuesday at Globe Life Park. They left Tuesday night for Arizona. Their flight was at 6:30 p.m.