Blue Jays Increase International Spending

TORONTO—The Blue Jays proved again they are becoming players in the international player market.

This time they invested $3.5 million to sign two Venezuelan 16-year-olds—$2.8 million for righthander Adonis Cardona and $700,000 for third baseman Gabriel Cenas.

"Anytime you're dealing with a 16-year-old there's an element of risk," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "In a lot of ways it's like buying a stock. If you want to buy a stock when it's already established you're probably going to have a hard time doing so, but if you can do it early enough and you decide the cost makes sense and there's a significant upside ... that's something we look at."

In his first year as GM, Anthopoulos has expanded the scouting department and increased the club's international spending.

"If you don't take any of these chances and you don't sign any of these players, you never have a chance to get the high-impact, high-ceiling players," Anthopoulos said.

Cenas and Cardona will begin their professional careers in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League. Marco Paddy, Toronto's director of Latin American operations, described Cenas as having "a very special bat with the ability to play third base and a lot of natural tools."

He said Cardona is a "very good athlete with a special arm and a special makeup."

"He's got the type of arm that can hopefully develop into something special in the major leagues," Paddy said.

The Blue Jays intend to expand their Latin American coverage by having scouts in such places as Curacao, Mexico and Nicaragua. They have scouts in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Colombia.

"We have a plan in place that's going to provide us with scouts in every country that plays baseball in Latin America, and we don't have any limitations," Paddy said.


• Catcher J.P. Arencibia continued his tear with Triple-A Las Vegas, hitting .339/.413/.857 with nine home runs in 14 July games after being named the Pacific Coast League player of the month in June.

• In the all-star break trade in which the Blue Jays and Braves swapped shortstops Alex Gonzalez and Yunel Escobar, the Blue Jays also sent the Braves a pair of prospects: lefty Tim Collins and middle infielder Tyler Pastornicky.