According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, the Toronto Blue Jays have signed 16-year-old Dominican right-hander Hansel Rodriguez for $330,000. Badler explains that the Blue Jays were able to stay under the restrictive pool amount by parlaying the $243,500 they received from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for Rule 5 selection Brian Moran with their remaining international bonus pool money of $127,100.
Rodriguez measures up at about 6’2/180 lbs and throws his heater in the low 90s, touching 95 MPH. Badler also says Rodriguez “throws an above-average curveball, which had made him one of the top arms available in Latin America after going unsigned last year on July 2.”
As followers of our Blue Jays top prospects lists already know, the Jays have done quite well in Latin America since revamping their system that was decimated by previous GM J.P. Ricciardi. The system is full of high-upside, very talented arms including today’s feature Alberto Tirado, who signed for a very similar $300,000 back in 2011.
This may not be the move that most Blue Jays fans were hoping for but it’s further confirmation that the Blue Jays are committed to getting the most out of Latin America. According to Kiley McDaniel of Scout.com, the New York Yankees could be planning to blow through the bonus pool limit by spending as much as $25 million in signing bonuses next summer.
We obviously don’t know if the Yankees will actually follow through with the plan but if they do there will be slim picking for everyone else involved. McDaniel points that out a rival exec told him it’s only an “average class”, which could make New York’s supposed extravagant spending frivolous but from a Blue Jays perspective it would still limit the available talent pool. By adding an extra player now they have ensured the services of at least one extra arm now before the Yankees have a chance to fleece out Latin America in July.
Hat tip to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet for the link.