Tuesday was one of those unusually crazy news days at Texas Rangers spring training.
The one-year deal for Tim Lincecum was announced, sort of, and he did actual baseball stuff on one of the back fields.
Though not announced, and it could be weeks until it is, the Rangers landed top international prospect Julio Pablo Martinez.
At long last, the Rangers played a B game. That was bad news for Carlos Tocci.
Here's the Surprise Five from Tuesday.
1. Which agreement/signing is the bigger deal, Tim Lincecum or Julio Pablo Martinez? Seems like a good Twitter poll question.
The long answer is that a case can be made for both.
With Lincecum, the Rangers have a Cy Young talent and all-around good dude who could eventually be their closer this year and morph into a starter for 2019.
Those seem like two big ifs after he didn't pitch in 2017 and was terrible when he pitched in 2016. But he's healthy now, or so he and the Rangers say, and he is hungry to keep going because he believes he still has something to give.
Maybe he's the next John Smoltz, an elite starter who becomes an elite closer and an elite starter again and then strolls into the Hall of Fame. If so, the Rangers have pulled off a heist.
And if not? Well, the Rangers might have a nice reliever or someone who is ineffective and gets designated for assignment while costing the Rangers only $1 million.
It's a risk worth taking.
The $2.8 million deal for Martinez, a speedy, power-hitting Cuban outfielder, shows that the Rangers still have some muscle internationally. Granted, they had more money than their main rivals, the New York Yankees and Miami Marlins, but they were at disadvantages to both in terms of stature (Yankees) and geography and opportunity (Marlins).
They did what they needed to do to get the deal done now rather than let Martinez think that he might get a better deal in July, when the next international signing period begins and all 30 teams get their bonus pools refilled.
The Rangers made two trades to add to their 2017-18 bonus pool and were charming enough otherwise in their recruitment to keep Martinez from signing elsewhere for less or holding out.
A win like this always helps, and perhaps it plays well down the road. It definitely helps boost the farm system now.
To answer the original question, the Martinez agreement is a bigger deal.
2. Lincecum's availability for Opening Day will be a bigger topic this spring than what role he will fill in the bullpen. He very well could be the closer at some point in 2018, but on Opening Day might be a stretch.
He admitted that he isn't sure what track he is on because of the obvious pull from baseball caused by his older brother's death. Lincecum didn't talk much about that to the three reporters who caught up with him Tuesday, but he said enough to know that the emotions are still raw and the pain is real.
Like any younger sibling, at some point their older sibling was their hero and best friend. My favorite pictures of my two kids are the ones in which the 3-year-old is looking at the 5-year-old with a huge smile on her face.
I can't imagine what Lincecum's parents are having to deal with, but he said they're doing the best they can.
General manager Jon Daniels said that the Rangers will give Lincecum as much time as he needs to get ready, though he doesn't need as much time because he is preparing to be a reliever.
Lincecum, Daniels said, has been throwing off a mound five times a week. Lincecum said that his body is responding well to frequent throwing, and that was a significant factor in the decision to embrace a relief role this season.
And he is going to pitch, in relief, this season. It just might not be on Opening Day.
3. The final details were finally hashed out with Martinez, but signing an international prospect isn't as cut and dried as, say, signing Lincecum.
But here's a rough timeline of what to expect:
Martinez will come to spring training but not for a couple weeks after he returns to Haiti, where he established residency, and cuts through the necessary red tape needed to transition to the U.S.
He will be in Arizona at least until camp breaks, possibly into some extended spring training, but will return to the Dominican Republic rather than open the minor-league season with an affiliate.
Martinez's first professional game will come June 1, in the Dominican Summer League. The Rangers want to give him time to get his body back into game shape after three months' worth of tryout after tryout. He should join a Class A affiliate, either Low A Hickory or High A Down East, in mid-June.
Once in the U.S., Martinez will likely stay through at least the instructional league and possibly as permanently as the law will allow.
What he won't do is unseat Leody Taveras as the best center-field prospect in the Rangers' system. Taveras is the No. 1 prospect, depending on how people view Willie Calhoun.
Martinez is likely a top-10 prospect, according to one Rangers scout, but not a top-five prospect. However, Baseball America pegged him as the Rangers' No. 3 prospect and No. 60 overall in baseball.
4. Tocci was supposed to travel to Mesa and start in left field after playing in a B game against the Cincinnati Reds. Instead, he was lucky to not be seriously injured in the B game.
Tocci, the Rule 5 pick trying to keep his spot on the 25-man roster, was drilled by a pitch in the helmet and the ball sharply caromed off his left cheekbone.
The sound was disgusting. The small crowd watching groaned and gasped. Trainers from both teams quickly got to Tocci, who was on the ground for a few minutes before being assisted to a golf cart and driven to the training room.
The Rangers said that he went through their concussion protocol and didn't appear to have any issues. Nevertheless, Tocci will be monitored for a few days before the all-clear is sounded.
Willie Calhoun, who was the Rangers' left fielder in the B game, said that the incident reinforces his decision to wear a helmet that features a pad that extends from the earflap and protects his jaw.
Calhoun went to the training room after he took his fourth at-bat to check on Tocci, and said that he doesn't have any noticeable injuries on his face but appeared to be dazed by what had happened.