Baseball America has a listing of how much each team has spent on draft pick signing bonuses for the last 3 years.
The biggest spenders, this past year, are the Nationals at $11,927,200. No surprise since they had the number one pick. But coming in a close 3rd are our Blue Jays, spending $11,594,400. The two previous seasons we were closer to the bottom of the list spending $4.9 million and $4.4 million in 2009 and 2008 respectively. So we've had a major change in policy.
I'd think that the change comes from above the GM position. I can't imagine that JP wouldn't have spent the money, if he was allow, but I'd guess that AA made the case that the team needed to spend on the draft to complete in the AL East and maybe made that part of his agreement to become GM.
MLB Trade Rumors has quotes from Andrew Tinnish on why we are spending the money:
"To me it's not about spending," Tinnish said. "Whether that's an Aaron Sanchez, who obviously signed for a reasonable amount for where he was taken (supplemental first round, $775K bonus) or a Dickie Joe Thon, who signed for much more than the recommended amount for where he was selected (fifth round, $1.5MM bonus), it's about acquiring talent."
Makes sense to me. Tinnish also says talks about the 2011 draft:
"We're well into 2011 already," Grant said. "It looks like it should shape up to be a very, very good draft year."
So if we are to get a few extra draft picks for Scott Downs and some of our other free agents, life will be good.
It is good to see that the Jays are willing to spend, add in the money spent on international free agents, they have made a large investment in the future. We don't know how it will all pan out, but it give you a good feeling.