International Free Agent tracker: Blue Jays add six Venezuelans and an intriguing Brazilian pitcher

One of the year’s best days is here, as we’ve officially started the International Free Agency period.

As more signings become announced, I’ll create a new section for each player. Let’s start with the big fish of the class.
Enmanuel Bonilla
It was announced on Sunday morning that the Blue Jays have officially signed Enmanuel Bonilla, a top prospect in the 2023 IFA class.

Source: #BlueJays agree to a $4.1 million deal with OF Enmanuel Bonilla, #7 on Top 50 Int’l Prospect list. The team has not confirmed. https://t.co/A3Ar3oTG3N
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) January 15, 2023

Ranking as Blue Jays Nation’s 20th-best prospect, Bonilla has an intriguing hit tool and some of the best power in the class. Moreover, he may have the tools to stick in centre field as he’s rather athletic and has a strong arm, but he could move to a corner outfield, likely right field.
The 16-year-old ranked as MLB Pipeline’s seventh-best available prospect in their Top 50 international ranking for 2023l. Fangraphs ranked him as their 11th-best prospect, while Baseball America ranked him as their fourth-best available prospect.
Per Jesse Sanchez, he signed for $4,100,000, meaning that the Jays have $1,184,000 remaining in bonus pool money.
Update #1:
The signing on Enmanuel Bonilla was to be expected, but below is a list of the first batch of prospects that have officially signed.

Add C Juan Rosas 🇵🇦to the list
— Mitch Bannon (@MitchBannon) January 15, 2023

Sports Illustrated’s Mitch Bannon was the first to tweet this out, and it was officially confirmed by the team on Sunday afternoon.
Andersson Barvosa:
With a lot of these guys, scouting reports are going to be nearly impossible to find. However, I got pretty lucky and found some video, as you can watch below.

Andersson Barvosa from 2021.
Courtesy of Bendecidos Sport on Facebook.#BlueJays pic.twitter.com/h6VuYczqK8
— Brennan …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 126: Brandon Belt is here! Julian Merryweather is gone!

We’ve got transactions to talk about!

The Blue Jays had a flurry of moves this week, as they added two-time World Series winner Brandon Belt, traded for depth starter Zach Thompson, and designated Julian Merryweather for assignment to make room.
We talked about the addition of Belt and how his presence further helps make the team’s lineup a little less predictable. We also talked about the departure of Merryweather and those amazing two saves he had in April of 2021 that made us all believe. After that, we took a look around the league and talked about the most recent Boston Red Sox disaster along with the Carlos Correa saga coming to an end.
You can listen to the episode here…
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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 125 – Daulton Varsho trade reaction!

Merry Christmas, everyone! We’ve got a transaction to talk about!

The Blue Jays finally pulled the trigger on the catcher-for-outfielder trade we’d all been speculating about for weeks, as they sent Gabriel Moreno and Lourdes Gurriel to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Daulton Varsho.
Me and BK took a look at what the Blue Jays are getting in Varsho, whether he’s worth what they’re giving up in Moreno and Gurriel, and what might happen next.
You can listen to the episode here…
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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

End of season comparison: Yusei Kikuchi to Steven Matz, a tale of change and qualifying offers

We’ve run through all the good comparisons, and now we’re left with Yusei Kikuchi and Steven Matz. Yay.

So yeah, getting this out of the way quickly, neither of these guys had a good season… sort of. It took a change mid-season to help them perform better.
Unlike the other three articles in the series, there are no prospects in this article. However, there should have been, but we’ll get to that. Here’s the background.
Background:
The Blue Jays traded three prospects, Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Diaz, and Josh Winckowski for Steven Matz on January 28th, 2021. The lefty had a solid season in 2021 with the Blue Jays and cashed in during the 2021-22 off-season, signing a four-year, $44 million contract with the St.Louis Cardinals.
Yusei Kikuchi spent three seasons with the Mariners, positing “meh” statistics with the team, before signing a three-year deal with the Blue Jays worth $36 million.
Steven Matz’s 2021:
Looking at Matz’s 2021 first, he finished the season with a 3.82 ERA and 3.79 FIP in 150.2 innings pitched. While his 22.3 K% was about average, he had a solid 6.6 BB% which meant he let runners get a free pass.
It was a fairly streaky season for the then 30-year-old lefty. At some point, he looked like it could be his best year, while he got lit up at other points. Overall, it was a solid season where he posted pretty good numbers for a guy who was penciled in as the fifth starter.
Unlike the other two free agents we’ve covered, Mat …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

2022 TLN Prospect Rankings: The Goaltenders

The TLN prospect rankings are well underway, we’ve already knocked off our no votes, honourable mentions, and the first five prospects on our list. The thing you might remember from when we began this series is that we have purposely kept goaltenders out of it, as they are clearly their own thing. Rather than all of us trying to debate the value of a potential 20 game backup vs. potential bottom pairing defenseman vs. defensive specialist forward, we’re going to admit that it’s hard enough to compare goaltenders to each other let alone skaters.
So instead here are our top five affiliated goaltenders within the Leafs organization that aren’t established NHL goaltenders. So if you are looking for Matt Murray vs. Ilya Samsonov takes, you’ll have to check back likely in September. We do have goaltenders under contract with the Marlies on our list so, there’s that.
The one that thing really needs to be considered by everyone is that we have no idea what impact a goaltending coach change will make. With the exception of Dennis Hildeby, most of these goaltenders were brought in to work with Steve Briere and whether they are a fit for Curtis Sanford will be an interesting transition …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation