After trading for additional international bonus pool space from the Angels in December, the Blue Jays have used the extra room to sign Dominican righthander Hansel Rodriguez for $330,000.Rodriguez, 16, is around 6-foot-2, 180 pounds with a fastball that sits in the low-90s and touches 95. Rodriguez also throws an above-average curveball, which had made him one of the top arms available in Latin America after going unsigned last year on July 2. Rodriguez, who turns 17 on Feb. 27, trained with Felix Taveras.
In January 2013, Rodriguez pitched in Major League Baseball’s international prospect showcase, where he threw two scoreless innings with two strikeouts and two walks. Rodriguez had also pitched for a team of Dominican prospects against the Canadian junior national team last year in May, when he threw a scoreless inning with two strikeouts and two walks. Rodriguez also pitched in the Dominican Prospect League.
In December, the Blue Jays picked lefthander Brian Moran from the Mariners in the Rule 5 draft, then traded him to the Angels to acquire the Angels’ No. 3 international bonus slot, the No. 81 overall slot with a value of $243,500. The Blue Jays started the 2013-14 international signing period on July 2 with a bonus pool of $2,817,100, but by December, according to Baseball America’s figures, they had already spent $2.69 million on their pool (not counting any of their six exemptions of $50,000 or less or unlimited $7,500 exemptions), leaving them with approximately $127,100 of space remaining before the exemptions. The Blue Jays targeted the slot value from the Angels to be able to sign Rodriguez and come in under their pool amount.
Rodriguez adds to a wave of impressive young international talent the Blue Jays have signed in recent years, including righthanders Roberto Osuna, Alberto Tirado and Miguel Castro, along with shortstops Dawel Lugo, Franklin Barreto and Richard Urena, among others.