Blue Jays sign Cuban shortstop Javier Monzon
The Toronto Blue Jays have signed 23-year-old shortstop Javier Monzon, marking their first dip into the Cuban market in several years
The international market has figured to be a significant part of Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins’ effort in rebuilding the Toronto Blue Jays depleted farm system and upper-minor league depth. They’ve taken a step in that direction, as yesterday’s minor league transactions from Baseball America list the Jays as signing Cuban shortstop Javier Monzon.
Monzon, who is 23-years-old, is Toronto’s first Cuban splash since the signing of Adeiny Hechavarria, who was dealt to the Miami Marlins before establishing himself as an everyday player.
Over at Blue Bird Banter, MjwW dug up the details that Monzon had left Cuba for Spain at age 17, and in 2013, landed in the Dominican Republic to pursue a major league deal.
As he also notes, the signing comes officially just after Monzon’s 23rd birthday, which is a line to watch for when teams add a player in their early 20s. Any bonus paid to an international player 22-years-old or under counts against the organization’s bonus pool, but when signing after the 23rd birthday, it does not.
Given Monzon’s age and the fact that he’s a relative unknown (though information is traditionally sparse with Cuban free agents), do not expect that the bonus paid by Toronto was anything significant.
Speaking recently with Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star, Ross Atkins continued to emphasize the importance of this international work.
“My philosophy is two-fold on Latin America. One, it’s extremely important that you’re consistent in how you’re gathering information in every way. Evaluations mentally, physically and fundamentally, that you have a system for doing that so no stone is unturned and every single player you have as much information on as humanly possible.”
As always, the greatest advantage to these smaller international signings is that it only costs the organization money. No on-field assets, no draft picks.