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Rangers get down to business, sign top picks

Rangers get down to business, sign top picks

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers signed two of their first-round Draft picks on Wednesday, after they were selected on Monday in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

Outfielder Jake Skole and catcher Kellin Deglan both agreed to terms and have been assigned to the Arizona League. Skole signed to receive $1.557 million over three years, with a present value of about $1.5 million. Deglan agreed to terms on Monday with a $1 million signing bonus.

"I think it says a lot about these two players. There was no holding out for whatever reason," general manager Jon Daniels said. "These guys wanted to go out and play baseball. They're passionate about it, they want to win, they want to go out and compete. They don't want to sit at home this summer, they want to go out and play.

"They've got to have that inner drive, motivation and desire. It's pretty clear both of these guys do and our scouts did a great job as far as evaluating that aspect of it."

Jake Skole had committed to play baseball and football at Georgia Tech. But he insisted that being a first-round pick wasn't a necessity in signing as quickly as he did.

"It didn't have to be the first round, it just had to be somewhere high up there in the first few rounds," Skole said. "It's a good atmosphere here and everything feels right. It's almost a no-brainer."

Skole was the Rangers' 15th-overall pick, and was compensation for not signing last year's first-round pick in Matt Purke. Had the Rangers been unable to sign Skole, they would not have received a compensation pick in next year's Draft. He said his relationship with area scout Ryan Coe and the rest of the organization factored into his quick signing.

"We had a good relationship with Ryan and all the scouts here at Texas," Skole said. "We've been talking about it prior to the draft and we were able to talk it over and work it out even before this time came."

Kellin Deglan was the first of all first-round Draft picks to sign, agreeing to terms late Monday night. His relationship with another Rangers scout may have also played a factor in his signing.

"Me and Gary McGraw, we've had a good relationship since last year and ever since then the Rangers have been real high on my priority list," Deglan said. "So I couldn't be happier to be with the Rangers."

Daniels said that the Rangers' current budget situation and upcoming change in ownership played no part in who the club targeted with their top two selections.

"We lined our board up based on talent with no exceptions. We had these guys rated very, very highly," Daniels said. "The fact, that they wanted to sign adds to that allure for us. We would have taken them regardless of that. We had these guys rated extremely high based on their ability to play the game."

Daniels obviously believes in the talent level that Skole and Deglan bring, as he said he expects both to be with a Class-A short season affiliate of the Rangers in Spokane, Wash., in the coming months.

"We think these guys are mature enough where they can handle the talent of playing in Spokane this summer," Daniels said. "We don't have a date set, but that's our expectations. Some guys are able to handle it.

"A bunch of guys can do it at a younger age. We think these guys have the makeup to handle it."

A native of Roswell, Ga., Skole was only the Rangers' second outfielder to be drafted with the club's first pick, joining William Simpson in 1975. In his senior season at Blessed Trinity High School, his season was shortened due to injury, but he still hit .452 with six home runs and 21 RBIs in 14 playoff games.

"It feels great to be the first pick of this organization," Skole said. "There are great things happening here and I'm just happy to be apart of it. I appreciate the opportunity and good things are to come, I promise."

Deglan, a native of Langley, B.C., was a member of Canada's national team and played against the Rangers' squad in the Dominican Summer League in May. He was the first Canadian taken in this year's Draft.

"I just wanted to say thanks to the Rangers for believing in me right from the get-go. They've shown a lot of interest in me," Deglan said. "Growing up, I always wanted to be a big leaguer. I quit hockey when I was 10 and just started focusing on baseball."

Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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