Blue Jays lose key scout Ismael Cruz to the Dodgers


Blue Jays Director of Latin American Operations Ismael Cruz has been signed away from the organization by the Los Angeles Dodgers. This is a real blow to the Blue Jays scouting department, as Cruz played a prominent role in landing some of the organization’s top prospects since his arrival in 2011.

Cruz earned public praise from general manager Alex Anthopoulos this past summer for Miguel Castro, who was one of his prized discoveries. Cruz had originally wanted the Mets to sign Cruz when he was with their organization, but persisted after making the move to Toronto and was made to look very wise for it. Castro was a prominent piece of the package used to land Troy Tulowitzki from the Colorado Rockies.

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Producing found money like Castro is the greatest value an international scout can have. High draft picks and big-name amateur free agents will always be available, but diamonds on the rough that no other team believed in will give a team’s general manager free chips to play with in the trade market.

Cruz still nailed the big names, though, playing a leading role in the signing on Vladimir Guerrero Jr. this past season. Cruz acted as his chaperone when Guerrero took a trip to Toronto, and given that he appeared to be the strongest link between the young Guerrero and the organization, it’s an even tougher loss. Cruz was also involved in landing Franklin Barreto and numerous others.

It’s not yet clear which role Cruz will fill with the Dodgers, but a bump in title and pay grade can be assumed. Well earned bumps, too. I’m left to wonder if Cruz was one of AA’s “guys”, and whether he would have left for the same opportunity if changes had not been made over the past several weeks.

The Blue Jays will now need to do some shuffling of their own in the scouting department, and whether it comes in that area or elsewhere in the front office, it still wouldn’t be surprising to see Shapiro draw some names over from Cleveland along with him. Whoever it is, they’ll have big shoes to fill.