Report: Blue Jays among teams interested in Cuban Yadier Alvarez
Major League Baseball is seeing the Cuban invasion, as prospects and seemingly Major League ready players are falling out of the sky and vying for contract around every corner. With names like Yoan Moncada, Hector Olivera, and Andy Ibanez all representing intriguing additions to any club, it remains odd that the Toronto Blue Jays have been quiet on the Cuban front.
At least that was until recently.
According to a recent report from Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, the Toronto Blue Jays are among the teams interested in 18-year-old right-hander Yadier Alvarez. However, Sanchez also notes that nine other teams are in the mix in the early goings, and that he envisions that the Arizona Diamondbacks or Washington Nationals would be the most likely destinations.
Alvarez has wowed scouts in recent workouts, touching the upper 90’s with his fastball and displaying a sharp, biting slider, and a change-up that is advanced for his age. Of course, control is an issue at this age but he’ll be given time to improve that in the minor leagues. However, as Sanchez noted, some scouts feel that Alvarez is more polished than most 18-year-old arms and could rise quickly.
Need some teasing on just how polished or how nasty his pitches are, watch this video from FanGraphs.
That all said, there are some obvious obstacles for the Blue Jays in this pursuit.
At 18-years-old and having little to no experience in the Cuban professional circuit, Yadier Alvarez would be subject to international bonus pool limitations. With Toronto already being linked to Dominican outfielder Vladimir Guerrero Jr., there may be a limitation as to how much they could afford to spend without exceeding the pool. Exceeding the pool has various penalties, including the following (courtesy of VivaElBirdos.com).
More from Jays Journal
- Blue Jays: Adam Cimber, the unlikely decision King
- Toronto Blue Jays: Has the Shift Killed Kevin Gausman’s 2022 Cy Young Hopes?
- Blue Jays: What Yusei Kikuchi’s latest stumble should mean
- Blue Jays: Alek Manoah on pace to succeed in possible postseason
- Blue Jays: Bradley Zimmer has carved himself a valuable role
- 0-5% overage: MLB taxes the overage at a 100% rate.
- 5-10% overage: (1) MLB taxes the overage at a 100% rate. (2) The offending club loses the right to sign any player to a bonus exceeding $500,000 during the following international signing period.
- 10-15% overage: (1) MLB taxes the overage at a 100% rate. (2) The offending club loses the right to sign any player to a bonus exceeding $300,000 during the following international signing period.
- 15%+ overage: (1) MLB taxes the overage at a 100% rate. (2) The offending club loses the right to sign any player to a bonus exceeding $300,000 during the following two international signing periods.
The Blue Jays had a bonus pool of $2,852,900 in 2014-2015. Considering that both Guerrero and Alvarez are likely to command a high bonus allotment, and the team may be forced to exceed their pool for just one of them, the Blue Jays may be forced to choose between one or the other. Considering the state of the system, it is arguable that Guerrero is a much bigger need for the Blue Jays at this stage.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that Toronto will be fully out of the picture in regards to Alvarez. They’ll certainly do their due diligence. However, risking handicapping themselves in future international markets may be too big of a risk to take.