Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Yenier Bello cleared to sign, Blue Jays linked to Cuban catcher

We are getting towards the end of January but the hot stove might just now be starting to heat up for the Toronto Blue Jays.

An industry source told Jesse Sanchez of that Cuban catcher Yenier Bello has been cleared by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and will soon be free to sign with an MLB club. Back in October, the Blue Jays were said to be one of the clubs linked to interest in Bello and even after signing Dioner Navarro this off-season are still looking for their next “catcher of the future”.

Bello has been trying to get into the United States for some time and hasn’t played professional baseball since 2011. MLB Trade Rumors notes he “doesn’t appear to be on the same prospect level as recent Cuban signees Jose Dariel Abreu, Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes and Aroldis Chapman” but says he does bring a bit of power from the catching position.

Scouting reports on Bello are light but Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet said based on his workout for MLB teams he showed “solid receiving skills” and an agent told him “Bello’s throwing arm and his power are his two calling cards.”

If interested, the Blue Jays look to have some heavy hitters for competition as both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs are also rumoured to be looking hard at Bello. The Blue Jays currently have four catchers on the 40-man roster – Navarro, Josh Thole, Erik Kratz and prospect A.J. Jimenez.

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Tags: Toronto Blue Jays Yenier Bello

  • Mr. Roboto

    Sure they are.

  • Quincy-Sam

    Not sure if Jays all that interested in Bello. But I expect them to be VERY interested in Aledmys Diaz. He can’t sign until late February.

    • Michael Wray

      Would love if they could add Diaz perfect fit for the hole at second base.

      • Quincy-Sam

        I don’t think Bello, Diaz, or the other Cubans linked to the Jays are under the international cap which AA has built up. He may not have the advantage he would if they were.

        But other than Diaz, I don’t see him all that interested in most of the Cubans that expect to start at the major league level. They might be rated as being borderline ready, but not top tier. Either they have great offense of defense, but lacking the other. Pitchers available either 5th starters or pen. They would need time on the farm (not room in TO), and probably not what the players expect in order to sign. This includes Bello despite the Jays catching situation.

        Diaz however would have a legitimate shot at cracking the roster sometime in 2014. He supposedly has the offense, and not bad defense. With his time off, both sides might expect some time in Buffalo on a major league contract. This should be one of AA’s makes sense signings, so I’ll be disappointed if they don’t sign him, while the others, not so much.

        I think AA will be able to outbid almost any team on the international market of both types. With heavy scouting in this area I expect to see him very active, particularly at the prospect level.

        • Eric

          Like Diaz as possible jay.

    • Eric

      Bello sounds alright though? Am I wrong. Kratz is an ok back up and we need to make time for aj to grow.

      • Quincy-Sam

        Despite signing Navarro, both Kratz and Thole might challenge for the top position in 2014. AJ later in the year as he needs regular work at AAA before coming up. Signing Bello would mean AJ going back to AA. Part of why signing Bello doesn’t make sense to me. I would think differently if Bello had a can’t miss #1 outlook.