Let's take our series looking at each club's spending on amateur players north of the border…
- Adeiny Hechavarria, $4MM (2010)
- Adonis Cardona, $2.8MM (2010)
- Ricky Romero, $2.4MM (2005)
- Felipe Lopez, $2MM (1998)
- 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).