The Toronto Blue Jays today announced the signing of seven international free agents, including top prospects Roberto Osuna and Wuilmer Bacerra, who were both ranked in the top five potential July 2nd signings by Baseball America.

Osuna, a 6’3″230 lbs, 16 year old, right handed pitcher, is the nephew of former Major League reliever Antonio Osuna. According to MLB Trade Rumors, he tossed 19 2/3 innings in the Mexican League this summer.

Bacerra is a 6’4″ 190 lbs, 17 year old, Venezuelan outfielder, ranked as the fifth best unsigned international prospect by Baseball America.

The Blue Jays also signed the following players:

  • Jesus Gonzalez, OF, Venezuela.
  • Manuel Cordova, RHP, Venezuela.
  • Alberto Tirado, RHP, Dominican Republic.
  • Jairo Labourt, LHP, Dominican Republic.
  • Yeyfry Del Rosario, RHP, Dominican Republic.

Gonzalez and Cordova were both named in Baseball America’s Top 40 potential signings.

Earlier this summer, Toronto paid a $1.3 million bonus to sign Dominican infielder Dawel Lugo. According to Baseball America, via MLBTR, it’s more than likely that the Blue Jays spent more than that on both Osuna and Bacerra, for which we might want to thank Tyler Beede and his overvaluing of a Vanderbilt education.

This is pretty much the exact alternative to the risks teams incur by spending big money for multiple years from aging free agents. Stocking their system like the Toronto Blue Jays have through a willingness to pay over slot at the draft and by dropping fliff on international signings not only creates future members of the Major League roster, it also creates trade bait for landing those missing pieces of the puzzle that other teams overspend for on the free agent market.

It’s almost a pity that for all the negative press that the Beede contract fail created among meathead journalists, these signings, which should be celebrated with vigor among the Blue Jays faithful, are likely to go unmentioned.

For more on Osuna, Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus says the following:

The arm has a good breaking ball in it; can currently spin a good curve but struggled to stay over it and it got slurvy. Changeup had some vertical movement but he tipped it by adjusting the grip in the glove before the delivery. Was slower/more deliberate to plate on secondary stuff. Good feel for the mound and repeated mechanics pretty well for age. I like the arm quite a bit, but not the body. Could develop power arsenal. It’s not hard to envision a plus (60) FB, 55/60 CB, 50 CH arsenal, with some command and feel for pitching. Seven-figure player.

Comments (37)

  1. The idea that not signing Beede helped ink Osuna & Bacerra is either incorrect or doesn’t say good things about the organization. If Beeston claims they can spend with the Bostons there was more than enough money to sign their first round draft pick and be active on the IFA market, especially when they are running a 60m payroll. This reminds me of the hypocrisy of all the writers saying that shedding the Wells contract is what led to the Bautista extension – do they have money to pay for talent or do they not? If they do, signing Osuna, Bacerra, and Bautista happened independently of the Beede/Wells moves. If they don’t and those signings were a result of saving money elsewhere then the future is pretty bleak in the AL East. Getting rid of bad contracts shouldn’t be what provokes AA into handing out good ones.

    • Good point, sir. However, I only offer that not signing Beede was more of not wanting to kowtow to unreasonable demands than merely a cost allocation decision.

    • They have money to spend, but they don’t have unlimited money to spend. It’s not hypocrisy, it’s called a “budget” and it would be impossible for them to operate without one. Beeston has said that they’ll be able to spend to the level of the Red Sox when the revenues are around the level of the Red Sox, and until then they need to find creative ways (such as signing IFAs and dumping Wells) to get there.

      • The Blue Jays revenue greatly exceeds the cost of running the team this year. There was more than enough money to sign their first round draft pick and be active on the IFA. There was also enough money to extend Bautista while keeping Wells around.

        • If you have any extra food around your house you better eat it because, you know, it’s there.

          • Nobody is advocating senseless spending. But that doesn’t mean that international FA signings that were likely made in early July can be attributed to not signing their first round draft pick.

      • The budget will always be lower than revenues to achieve a profit. The real question is will Rogers invest revenues back into the team (like the Yankees) or collect it as profit while fielding a shitty team (like the Pirates). Of course, there is also the question of spending wisely.

        • Most teams have a set budget for all amateur players that’s separate from the Major League budget. It’s completely feasible that spending on Beede would have prevented them signing this much international talent. That’s precisely how it works. Listen to any GM talk about it. Their Major League payroll is one budget, they also have a draft budget and an international free agent budget. Just like they have a budget for marketing and other staff.

  2. Huzzah! I love these kind of moves purely because it is the essence of buying low and potentially selling phenomenally high. Out of all these all signings, only one needs to pan out. Not to mention the additional benefit of selling their potential (actual, imaginary or otherwise) for proven talent (a la Colby Rasmus).

    Not flashy stuff but one of the overlooked and underestimated moves AA’s made this season will end up paying dividends for years to come.

  3. I love how people imagine the this team with an unlimited budget simply because their ownership is so successful. They’re successful for a reason. And one of those reasons is financial responsibility.

    • There’s a massive difference between expecting an unlimited budget and expecting Toronto to carry even a MLB-average payroll. With an average payroll there was more than enough room for Beede AND IFAs, Wells AND Bautista.

      • What is your point?

        Aren’t you glad they didn’t keep Wells?? Davis was a better option. Not having Wells made them go get Rasmus. And before you say they could have put Wells in a corner, I for one prefer all their corner options.

        As for Beede – who gives a shit?

        • My point is that the title of this post is absolutely ridiculous.

          • Fair enough!

            I guess it’s kind of semantic. I’m sure they hadn’t taken $3 mil cash out of the bank and then kept it to spend somewhere else, so it is technically probably different money.

          • If you take it literally, then, yeah, it’s not correct that AA went to sacks of loonies labelled “Beede Signing Bonus” and emptied them into sacks labelled “Latin America Signing Bonuses”. But if you understand it just a little more figuratively, there is definitely truth to the idea that there are avenues other than the Rule 4 draft for acquiring new young talent, and there is at least possibly some truth to the idea that the Jays were able to spend more on acquiring international free agents because they didn’t spend their entire budget on Rule 4 signing bonuses. But since none of us are privy to what those budgets were in the first place, none of us can really know that either way.

          • How is it ridiculous, they did not spend the 2.5M on Beede, and they have now spent 2.5 on international free agents. That makes sense to me. They may have been in on them even if Beede did sign, but the fact is the Jays saved 2.5M at the draft and spent more then 2.5 on IFA’s. Therefore Beede’s money was spent else where.

      • Why would you want to overpay Beede and Wells? Just because I have money doesn’t mean I need to spend money — and Wells is a train wreck this year, and Beede is a raw kid with an unbelievable attitude.

        Do you remember, back in the day, letting Jimmy Key go to the Yankees rather than sign a longer-than-club-policy contract with a pitcher? And that’s when the payroll was the highest in baseball, and it was still a good policy. Arms get injured (e.g. Ryan, BJ) and saying we should have kept Wells is trolling at its best.

    • But that’s exactly the problem of a large corporation owning sports team. I want an incredibly insecure billionaire like Mark Cuban or Art Moreno who is willing to spend whatever it takes to win a championship and end their painful feelings of nerdom.
      In contrast, Rogers communication has no profound memories of mental anguish from childhood which would compell it to disregard business sense in the chase for championship glory. The only glory for Rogers is to make as much profit as possible for its shareholders.
      Sure, one of the main reasons for the success of Rogers is financial responsiblity. But surely you will admit there is a big difference between a business making a profit and a sports team winnibng a championship?

      • This reminds me of an argument somebody at the game on Sunday used. And I say the Jays are not the Leafs. If the team isn’t exciting, isn’t good (and yes, this year’s team is good, even if they’re not in the playoff race), and is downright brutal overall profits go down. The Jays are a classic case of you have to spend money to make money.

        The LEafs on the other hand will sell out all their games and sell tons of jerseys whether they play NHL players, KHL players, AHL players of OHL players. This is a case of having a product that prints money.

        • I generally agree with your response. Owners like Rogers like Labatt or Rogers are both only interested in making as much money as possible. That said, their methods for doing so are completely different.
          Labatt wanted to use the Jays to sell more beer. Rogers wants to use the Jays to increase the value of their media properties. I think generally in the case of Rogers, but not in the case of Labatt, the better the team is, the more money there is to be made.
          But I think we can say it is logical to believe the payroll will eventually end up so high as to have a contending team, but low enough to make as much money as possible. Simply because Rogers doesn’t have the very rare attitude to not think about the financial implications when trying to improve their team, I’m left wanting more. Maybe I’m just asking too much.

      • They’ll win a championship even with the faceless empire as an owner.

      • James Dolan isn’t really an image of sports glory.

  4. FLIFF!!!! he said Fliff!

  5. Nice of the Jays to announce the signing of Jairo Labourt now given that he’s been pitching for the DSL Jays all summer.

  6. Can we just forget about Beede already.

    They had the money to sign Beede. Nobody questions that. But just because you have the money doesn’t mean you should spend it. From all accounts, Beede refused to negotiate at all. Given how foolish it would be to se the precedent of accepting the first offer in any negotiation with a draftee, it don’t really understand why people are still even talking about this. The Jays made the right decision period. Whether or not this had any impact on these other signings is irrelevant.

  7. Beede? Beede who?

  8. Wtf? Comment too short? Please try again? What a crock.

  9. For what it’s worth re: Osuna….Callum over at Mop Up Duty found an article over a month ago about the Jays signing him. Which predates the Beede thing. Basically two unrelated entities as far as the money is concerned.

  10. as someone who was a bit annoyed that they couldn’t get Beede, I’d much rather have all seven of these players, if I had to choose. quantity is king in young, far-from-the-majors propsects.

    i’m giving rogers the benefit of the doubt until the offseason, when i’m expecting contending moves (otherwise, there’s no point in not selling Bautista for a fortune – we’re clearly trying to win with him.) i have a feeling we’re going to use Encarnacion as the reason not to go after Fielder (since Fielder probably equals DH in AL) which annoys me, but I am hoping for a multiple-prospects-for-#2-pitcher deal. our system can afford the hit.

    or maybe we trade Lind for prospects and then sign Fielder anyway? Fielder/EE can split 1B/DH in whatever way is most advantageous, and Escobar/Rasmus/Bautista/Fielder/Encarnacion/Lawrie/Thames-or-other/Arencibia/Johnson-or-other is just ridiculous. scary good. and the Lind trade will help offset whatever we have to send out for a #2 starter.

  11. NYJ, its hard to take what you have to say seriously when all you ever comment on here is negative. Truth is no one knows Nays budget but its entirely possible the team did this with money earmarked for Needs and wouldn’t have gotten two of top five if they dropped three million on Needs.

  12. what is fliff??

  13. Enough frothing and gnashing of teeth about Beede already I say. Apparently this is how the negotiations went, depending on who you believe:

    Jays offer: $1.6 mil….Beede counter offer: $3.5 mil
    Jays offer: $2.0 mil….Beede counter offer: $3.5 mil
    Jays offer: $2.3 mil….Beede counter offer: $3.5 mil
    Jays final offer: $2.5 mil….Beede counter offer: $3.5 mil

    It’s pretty clear that somebody wasn’t bargaining in good faith, and it sure as [Getting Blanked] wasn’t the Blue Jays. Off to school with you for at least three years Beede…Three long years…During which we will never be allowed to forget about the one that got away, while the incredible bounty that came in this year via the draft and IFAs will be completely overlooked by the mindless hordes and the hacks who love to whip them into a frenzy. Enjoy the keggers and the co-eds Beede boy. We’ve moved on. The money was there…And you blew it.

    • I think there’s a middle ground here that people are sort of willfully ignoring depending on where they come down on the question of whether or not AA is walking on water. Is losing out on Beede the biggest deal in the world? No. Is it nothing? No. It means the Jays didn’t sign a very good prospect and, in return, are going to get a pick in a weaker draft in return. It’s just as misleading to say that Beede not signing doesn’t matter at all as it is to pretend it’s the harbinger of the Jaypocalypse.

      The idea that Beede wasn’t negotiating in good faith doesn’t ring true. One of the reasons he fell is because he was serious about wanting to go to Vandy. He had a price point and the Jays didn’t meet it. The error the Jays made is that they either knew about Beede’s stance and were wrongly convinced they could negotiate him down or they didn’t know and didn’t do their homework.

      These signings show that the Jays had the money to give to Beede, they just ultimately wanted to take it elsewhere. The nature of prospects being the crapshoot it is, only time will tell if it was the right call.

      • My point was I was fed up with the media fanning the flames of fan angst. The Jays signed Anderson, Musgrove, Smith Jr., Comer, Norris, Gabryszwski, Stilson, Robson, DeSclafani, Lopes, Biggs, and Dean as well as all the IFAs and the rest of the guys from the late rounds. Despite that haul all you heard from all corners of the local media for a week was “Oh noes, the Jays didn’t sign their first overall pick. They said they were going to focus on drafting and development, and look at what they did. They’re the only team that didn’t sign their first round pick. They’ve deceived us again and blah, blah, blah.”

        It’s uninformed drivel that only seeks to grab page views or light up a switchboard and light the torches and grab the pitchforks and off we go to the Rogers Centre. Burn that sucker to the ground baby! It’s irresponsible and deceitful, but hey that’s what passes for “journalism” these days. It sure got people calling in and writing into comments sections. I guess talking about things in a reasonable fashion and making well informed points is too much to ask these days.

        Maybe I’m just a curmudgeonly fart telling the kids to get off my lawn, but I’m tired of this [Getting Blanked]. By all means rip the [Getting Blanked] out of this regime when they screw up, but in the grand scheme of things how much of a screw up is this really? The 6th best draft according to Baseball America (about 3 to 5 years too early to judge IMHO, but it’s their job to provide this sort of analysis) is somehow a traveshamockery.

        Call me an idiot apologist, but I recognize hyperbole when I see it, and this is a steaming pile of hyperbole. Not saying it’s an insignificant loss, just saying there are plenty of players to get excited about from this draft for the Jays, yet all the media can do is pine for the one that got away, merely because of his draft position. Norris is allegedly the better prospect, but he’s disregarded because Beede was taken first. Ugh.

  14. NorthYorkJays wasn’t advocating keeping Wells, I think he’s just saying in a vacuum moves like extending Bautista were good baseball moves and should have been done with or without him on board. However things don’t operate in a vacuum and its reasonable to assume the money allocated for Beede/Wells will be spent else where however I believe the budgets for the draft and amateur signing free agents are mutually exclusive so its also equally ridiculous to insinuate the money meant for Beede this year went to these signings instead, as most were signed in early to late July and 2 were done last year.

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