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 MLB.com 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.