The Blue Jays are adding one of the best defenders at any position in this year’s international class to their system.
According to industry sources, the Blue Jays agreed to a $1.2 million deal with shortstop Rikelvin de Castro, No. 27 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 International Prospects list and a $750,000 deal with Venezuelan shortstop Estiven Machado.
The club has not confirmed the deals.
Here’s what we know about De Castro: He is a high-energy athlete with an impressive set of tools across the board. De Castro is slender, but he’s strong. He’s a prospect with good hands, solid footwork, speed and a high baseball IQ.
He shows solid defensive actions and plus arm strength.
The Blue Jays have also been linked to outfielder Piniel Brito. Additionally, they’re expected to sign these players out of the Dominican Republic: right-handed pitcher Nathanael Perez and outfielders Cristian Feliz, Penier Brito and Estarlin Beltre along with shortstop Leafar Yeje.
According to the rules established by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the Rule 4 Draft receive a pool of $6,481,200 for spending on international prospects, while clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Rule 4 Draft receive $5,939,800.
The Blue Jays have bonus pools of $5,398,300.
Teams are allowed to trade as much of their international pool money as they would like, but can only acquire 60 percent of a team's initial pool amount. Additionally, signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least 25 years of age and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.
Under the previous system, teams were penalized for exceeding their bonus pools with consequences that ranged from taxes on their spending to the maximum penalty, which was being prohibited from signing any prospect for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods. That’s no longer the case and there are no longer penalties. Teams can only spend their allotted bonus pools and the monies acquired via trade.