Amateur Signing Bonuses: Blue Jays

Let's take our series looking at each club's spending on amateur players north of the border…

  1. Adeiny Hechavarria, $4MM (2010)
  2. Adonis Cardona, $2.8MM (2010)
  3. Ricky Romero, $2.4MM (2005)
  4. Felipe Lopez, $2MM (1998)
  5. Deck McGuire, $2MM (2010)

When Alex Anthopoulos replaced J.P. Ricciardi as Toronto's GM last October, one of the first things he did was considerably increase the size of the team's scouting department. The fruits of that labor are seen above, as three of the five largest signing bonuses the team has ever given to amateur players came this year.

Hechavarria defected from Cuba in 2009 and signed with the Jays this March. His bonus was part of a four-year big league contract worth $10MM, and he reportedly passed on signing with the Yankees because he didn't want to get stuck behind Derek Jeter. The 21-year-old shortstop hit .242/.272/.333 in 440 plate appearances this season, most of which came at Double-A.

Cardona was the team's other big international signing this year, receiving the largest bonus ever given to a Venezuelan-born player and the second largest ever given to a Latin American pitcher. The 16-year-old signed in July and will begin his career next season. McGuire was the tenth overall selection in this year's draft, though he did not pitch after signing and like Cardona he will start his career in 2011.

Toronto selected Romero with the sixth overall pick in 2005 and expected him to climb the ladder quickly as a polished college left-hander, but he didn't make it to the show until four seasons after being drafted. He's certainly proven to be worth the wait though; Romero has posted a 3.99 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 61 starts (388 innings) over the last two years.

Lopez was the eighth overall pick back in 1998, and after a little more than three years in the minors he made his big league debut. Lopez hit just .240/.293/.399 in 501 plate appearances for the Blue Jays before being traded to the Reds in a four-team swap that included Erubiel Durazo, Elmer Dessens, and a player to be named later (Jason Arnold).

13 Responses to Amateur Signing Bonuses: Blue Jays Leave a Reply

  1. safari_punch 5 years ago

    I was surprised see Hechavarria absent in BA’s top 10 prospects for the Jays.

    I thought this guy was suppose to be a serious talent? Are the other guys that much better than Hech?

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      He made real strides this season once he got to NH, in fact a .273/.305 line in his first season in a new country facing the 3rd best tier of pitchers in the nation isn’t too shaby. Having seen what he does this past summer, I can tell you that his glove is Major League ready to say the least. He still needs some grooming but he can definetly be an above avgerage hitter at the Major League Level. He’s also a great great dude though, he’s one of my favorites on the team and we had some fun times this season especially with Jonathan Jaspe! good times!

      I can’t wait until next season!

      • moonraker45 5 years ago

        I think the Luis Rivera has to be given some credit for Hech’s improvements. . It has to be so tough for a kid like this to leave everything behind, new country, new language, the pressures off the field can be crippling. . Glad to see Rivera on the big team as well

    • Sniderlover 5 years ago

      They said others are better and I’m fine with that.

      But they have him as the best defensive infielder and infield arm. He struggled a lot in High A but did very well in double AA — at least better than what I was expecting.

      Still he has good upside and rankings change all the time so it’s a biggie.

    • moonraker45 5 years ago

      I also wouldnt put in too much stock of the order of the list. baseball america is great but by no means the end all. . I mean just look at the list from 2009 and you can see how much things have changed, David Cooper was considered our 4th best prospect, and best “hitter for average”, Justin Jackson was projected to be our 2013 starting SS and Brad Mills was number 8 on the list. So a lot can change from year to year, Hech’s glove is ready right now (which is amazing) and his bat has improved so much over the course of one season, I honestly wouldn’t be too surprised if we saw him as a September call up this year.

      • safari_punch 5 years ago

        I understand why BA forecasts a few years in advance based on the depth in every teams system; they are taking into consideration players will be free agents and not obligated to be a part of the organization after that point.

        I’ve been getting the Prospect Handbook since the first one in 2001 and it is always funny to go back in time and read the reports and see how badly the scouts missed on guys. “Missing” on players probably has a lot to do with adding multiple player pictures on the front cover of their book, when at one time they would have the “best” guy which was the Corey Patterson’s and Jeremy Hermida’s of the world.

        I figured based on Hech’s upside and physical skills he would crack the top 10 or even top five; he was compared to Derek Jeter with better defense by one of the scouts (I think), so I was surprised when he didn’t at LEAST crack the top 10. That part was surprising to me as I don’t think every guy ahead of him is a better athelete – or more importantly, baseball athlete.

        • moonraker45 5 years ago

          It was surprising to me too that they would rank fresh picks like Sanchez, Mcguire Wojciechowski or a guy like D’arnaud who battled injuries all season, or Gose who did show improvements but still such a raw talent ahead of Hech.

          I don’t know the basis of how they conduct their list, but I would like to see the criteria they use to put it together.

  2. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    Just wanted to point out Mike, Adeiny had 163 PA’s in Dunedin and 253 in AA/New Hampshire so thats more at the higher level, not to nitpick at all just saying…But it was his first year in pro ball and as the season progressed, he hit better. He also started going gap to gap instead of lining it to LF like he did in his first some odd AB’s this year. But he made great strides and looks to hit a ton more next season. He hit .273/.305 in New Hampshire.

  3. From the BA Jays top 10 chat re: Hechavarria

    Drew M (Toronto, Ontario): Adeiny Hechavarria didn’t make the top 10 despite all the publicity as a sought-after SS prospect from Cuba. Are the Jays top 10 really that good or did Hechavarria’s stock drop after his first season with the Jays? On a different subject – who do you see getting the the majors quicker? Marisnick or Gose?

    Nathan Rode: I’ll try to put Hechavarria concerns to bed here. The system is that good and Hechavarria didn’t have an overwhelming debut. Don’t be troubled. He’s a good defender that will stay at short. He has a quick bat that make evaluators think he’ll hit for average. He won’t have much power, maybe 10-12 home runs a year, but with his defense and speed that’s not a problem. As for Marisnick/Gose, I’ll go with Gose simply because he has a bit of a head start. He has a full season in High A already while Marisnick has just a handful of at-bats in Low A.

  4. moonraker45 5 years ago

    I’m glad to see AA wasting no time and making this team his own.

    1 year on the job and 3/5 on this list are his acquisitions. I love it, and can’t wait to revisit the list in a few years to see how things have changed.

  5. moonraker45 5 years ago

    Just because it took me for ever to find when they signed Cardona, I thought I’d share with those who haven’t heard much about him yet

    B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 180
    The top pitcher in Venezuela is Cardona, a powerful righthander with a projectable body and an excellent fastball. Cardona, 16, has a quick arm that delivers fastballs at 88-91 mph, touching 93. He should have at least a plus fastball when he’s done filling out and should be able to hit the mid-90s down the road. He also shows some feel for a changeup. Cardona’s curveball shows good depth at times, though several scouts have expressed concerns about it and have called it a present below-average pitch. Cardona is still refining his feel for pitching, and his mechanics also give some scouts reservations”

  6. moonraker45 5 years ago

    hahaa you’re absolutely pathetic and need a life.

  7. TDKnies 5 years ago

    That’s a little pathetic yourself. Be the better man, man.

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