View Full Version : The Latin American Market

07-31-2010, 01:50 PM
I hate Blair but at least this article gets into AA's desire to reestablish the Jays in the latin american market

“Alex sees part of his mission is to get heavily into Latin American markets,” said Paul Beeston, president and chief executive officer of the Blue Jays.

Mere words? Hardly. Pro-Toronto sentiment among Latinos is a card the Blue Jays are ready to play. Finally.

Intentions were clearly signalled when the Blue Jays went toe-to-toe with the Cincinnati Reds for Cuban fireballer Aroldis Chapman, walking away when it became clear the Reds would go to $30-million (all currency U.S.), including a $16.25-million signing bonus, and also after scouts expressed concern about Chapman. Had there been more unanimity, Chapman would be with the Blue Jays.

Undeterred, the Jays beat the New York Yankees to Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechevarria, paying $10-million over four years.

Last month, the Blue Jays signed 16-year-old Venezuelan right-hander Adonis Cardona to a $2.8-million bonus, the fourth-highest ever given to a non-Cuban free agent. The standard is the $4.25-million contract the Oakland Athletics gave another 16-year-old righty, Michael Ynoa of the Dominican Republic, in 2008.

Anthopoulos cut his teeth as a baseball executive with exposure to the Latin American system. Omar Minaya gave him his first full-time job, with the Montreal Expos. For two years Anthopoulos worked at a baseball academy in Fort Lauderdale owned by Fred Ferreira, the one-time Expos director of Latin American scouting who was dubbed The Shark of the Caribbean by Expos manager Felipe Alou. Anthopolous was involved with workout camps in the Dominican Republic, and took Spanish lessons at night for six months.

Beeston knows the vital role of Latin players in club history, notably George Bell, Manny Lee and Tony Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, and Roberto Alomar and Carlos Delgado of Puerto Rico. The Blue Jays' record book is an encyclopedia of Latino names, and next year Alomar should become the first player inducted into Cooperstown wearing a Blue Jays cap.

“You used to go to the Dominican Republic and everybody wanted to play for the Blue Jays or the [Los Angeles] Dodgers,” Beeston said. “Now all you see are [New York] Yankees caps. You go in there and you're the Blue Jays and you haven't been in the playoffs for 10 years – I mean, you know the kids are going to the Yankees if the money's the same. So you have to build or rebuild relationships.”

The Blue Jays placed a premium on AL home run leader Jose Bautista at the trade deadline, not only for his performance this season, but also due to his role as a bridge to Latino players.

“Alex has never said to me he wants to build a team around Latino players, but he has told me that he has seen a pattern of Latino players being comfortable in Toronto and I would agree with him,” said Bautista, a native of the Dominican Republic.

“Canadian people in general are more open to different cultures, and Toronto is more diverse culturally than usual for a baseball city, except for maybe New York and Los Angeles,” Bautista added. “Canadians are more used to dealing with people from different cultures and backgrounds. To me, there's a warmth there … I think they relate more to us than the usual American person.”

Having seen the Expos' success with signing and developing Latin American players, Anthopoulos also holds out the Detroit Tigers as an example of how even a dour city can be made a destination for Latino free agents such as Magglio Ordonez. Against the background of trading Roy Halladay and watching the Toronto Raptors lose Chris Bosh, Anthopoulos thinks it's simplistic to say you can't keep a big-name American player happy. Halladay re-signed with the Blue Jays twice. Bosh re-signed with the Raptors, too.

“No one can say the guys who played in Montreal loved the stadium, or the fact they were playing in front of small crowds,” said Anthopoulos, a native of the Town of Mount Royal. “You know they weren't influenced by having 45,000 fans watch them every night and treat them like rock stars. Yet they still talked fondly about Montreal. That stuck with me.

“Latin American players don't necessarily have ties to a particular city in the U.S.,” Anthopoulos added, “so, for the most part, they won't have a bias against us.”


07-31-2010, 01:58 PM
Great article, thanks. Love to see AA pushing for the Latinos.

07-31-2010, 02:02 PM
Very true. Toronto is a welcoming environment to foreigners so its understandable that Bautista and hopefully more latino stars feel comfortable in toronto. Maybe not just Latino players. Hopefully we can attract players from asia and all over the world