According to the BlueJays.com transactions page, the Blue Jays have signed seven international free agents from the Dominican Republic to minor league contracts last week. Remember that the Blue Jays acquired extra international bonus cap space by trading away Rule 5 pick Brian Moran to the Angels during the Winter Meetings. These signings may be souvenirs from Alex Anthopoulos's scouting trip down to eastern Hispaniola immediately following the General Manager Meetings back in November (remember them? nothing happened except for a dumb Jose Bautista-for-Dominic Brown rumour).
The players signed are listed below in alphabetical order. Because I don't know anything about them I'll tell you who they're not:
- RHP Jose Diaz, 21, from Santo Domingo. Not the Jose Diaz from San Pedro de Macoris who played briefly for the Royals and Rangers.
- RHP Luis Gomez, 21, from Santiago. Not the Luis Gomez who was the Blue Jays' starting shortstop in 1978.
- RHP Jeffry Martinez, 20, from Santo Domingo.
- OF Francisco Rodriguez, 19, from San Cristobal. Not K-Rod nor the other Francisco Rodriguez.
- RHP Luis Sanchez, 19, from Puerto Plata. Not the Luis Sanchez the Blue Jays had in their system in 2006-2010.
- SS Junior Vasquez, 18, from an unknown city. A switch-hitting shortstop who is just 5'8", 165.
- RHP Thony Vinicio, 19, from Santo Domingo.
Unlike the case where Adeiny Hechavarria was signed directly to a major league contract, I don't believe any one here is particularly high-profile, so for now they will start in one of the rookie affiliates and will have to make their slow climb up the organization.
The Blue Jays also inked minor league free agent LHP Erick Hurtado, 19, who signed with the Cardinals but has only pitched in seven games in the Dominican Summer League (rookie-level) for the Astros and Yankees organizations. Hurtado missed a bunch of time in 2012 because he was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for metabolites of stanozolol. I don't believe that he is related to former Blue Jays reliever Edwin Hurtado, who was from Venezuela. Ben Badler wrote a scouting report on Hurtado when he was still a free agent in the Dominican Republic:
Hurtado, who is from Santo Domingo, is 6-foot-3, 200 pounds and threw around 86-88 mph as July 2 approached last year, but more recently he's pitched in the high-80s and touched 90-91 mph. He's still raw as a pitcher but he shows some feel to spin a curveball.
So there, some moves.