The Texas Rangers inked their third-round pick, left-hander Robbie Erlin, for a reported $425,000 bonus on Wednesday afternoon.
The Santa Cruz, Calif., native signed for more than $50,000 above Major League Baseball's slot recommendation for the 93rd overall pick. Shortly after signing, Erlin attended the Rangers' game against the Detroit Tigers and had an opportunity to meet with the front office.
On Thursday, the club flew Erlin out to their minor league complex in Surprise, Ariz., where he will join the rookie AZL Rangers. Whether Erlin will pitch in games with the club has not yet been determined.
For our draft-day interview with Erlin, which includes more information on his game, please click here.
Jason Cole: Give me your general thoughts on getting a deal done and getting into pro ball.
Robbie Erlin: I'm excited about it. I'm glad to be out here so I can start developing and become a better pitcher. It was important to me to get out here as soon as possible, and I'm happy about how everything went. I'm excited to have the deal done and be out here playing.
Cole: Was there ever a point in the negotiation process that you were worried a deal might not get done?
Erlin: No. Not really. We had a pretty open relationship and everything with the Rangers. I wasn't really worried. They were honest with us and we were honest with them. We always knew where each other was at. I wasn't really worried about it.
Cole: Have you been playing on a summer team at all this year?
Erlin: No, no I have not.
Cole: Have you been throwing at all on the side?
Erlin: Yeah, I've been playing catch and throwing ‘pens maybe once every week or ten days or so.
Cole: You got to go to Arlington yesterday to take your physical, sign your contract, and take in the Rangers game. Tell me about signing the contract. Who all was there for it and what was that like?
Erlin: It was pretty cool. My dad was there and Bobby Crook was there. We just went over it and signed it. It felt good.
Cole: You got to attend the Rangers game last night, as well. Talk about that—getting to see the ballpark. I know the Rangers didn't give you their best performance last night, but you were able to get a feel of the organization that you just got into.
Erlin: Yeah, it was cool. It was cool watching the game and thinking that maybe someday if things work out, I might be able to play there myself. It was cool. It was a really nice stadium. I met nothing but great people over there, and I really enjoyed it.
Cole: Did they take you on a tour of the clubhouse and let you meet some of the players or anything like that?
Erlin: I checked out the clubhouse and the weight room, but that was during the game, so I didn't get to meet any of the players.
Cole: Did you get an opportunity to visit with Nolan Ryan at all?
Erlin: Yeah, I did. I met him about the fourth inning. He seems like a really nice guy, and he was really down to earth. I really trust him and what he's doing. It makes it really easy for a player to buy into the organization.
Cole: I know Nolan always works with the pitchers, especially during every Spring Training. How much are you looking forward to working with him at some point?
Erlin: I'm really excited. It's not going to do anything but elevate my game. That's what I'm here to do. Coming from somebody that has accomplished as much as him, that's phenomenal. I'm just really looking forward to it.
Cole: The Rangers flew you out to Arizona today to be with the rookie league club. When did you get there and have you been to the field today? Are you there now?
Erlin: Yeah, I'm in the clubhouse right now. I got picked up this morning. I'm about to go out there and stretch and everything and get ready.
Cole: Are you going to pretty much get today off to catch your breath and take it all in?
Erlin: I'm not sure yet. They're going to let me know.
Cole: Some guys, when they sign a little bit later on, just work out with the AZL club instead of pitching in games. Do you know what the Rangers' plan for you is? Are you going to be pitching in games before instructs?
Erlin: I do not know. I'm going to let them know how I feel—how everything feels and all that. Then they'll let me know what they want to do with me.
Cole: Now that you are in pro ball, is there a part of your game that you're really looking forward to developing more than anything else?
Erlin: Everything. I want to develop mentally and physically. I need to be able to go out there and adjust to the game.
Erlin signs with Rangers, reports to Surprise
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