Blue Jays Add Shortstop Richard Urena to International Haul

Craig Amos@@CAABRMMAFeatured ColumnistJuly 4, 2012

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Not satisfied with signing two of this year's top 10 international prospects, the Toronto Blue Jays have come to terms on a contract with 16-year-old Richard Urena. 

The deal was first reported by Ben Nicholson-Smith of

Baseball America has Urena ranked No.13 on its list of best international prospects in 2012, while has him ranked at No.9.

A Dominican native with excellent defensive skills, Urena is the third top 20 international prospect Toronto has inked to a deal this week. He is also the third international shortstop the team has signed over that period. 

On July 2 the Jays acquired Franklin Barreto and Luis Castro, which made them arguably the strongest player in 2012's international market. The signing of Urena only strengthens that position.

Though strange that a team would put all of its international signing money into three players who share the same position, the organization may plan to try each player at various places around the diamond.

Many believe that Barreto's future is at center field, while Castro projects as a corner infielder at the major league level. Urena, by most accounts, should be able to stay at shortstop because of his excellent range and strong glove.

The level of international talent general manger Alex Anthopoulos has managed to draw from Latin America this year only bolsters an already dynamite Blue Jays farm system.

It is clear that Anthopoulos is looking for bats to offset the slew of promising arms that currently populate the Jays minor league affiliates, and the triumvirate of shortstops he has inked this year is a terrific start to that mission.