LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Blue Jays used the fifth pick in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday morning to gain a little bit more flexibility on the international market.
Toronto selected left-hander Brian Moran from the Mariners, but the Blue Jays then traded him to the Angels for international cap space and cash considerations. Toronto will receive $240,000 in cap room from the Halos, which can be used on international free agents.
The move was essentially a no-brainer for the Blue Jays, considering they didn't have much use for a Rule 5 Draft pick and have interest in at least one international player.
"We knew we weren't necessarily going to be active in the Rule 5 [Draft]," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "We have a bunch of out-of-option guys in the bullpen already that we're going to look to keep, plus [Moises] Sierra is out of options.
"We weren't so compelled with what was out there. We didn't think it was an upgrade over what we had. [We] just tried to turn the asset of having a spot and convert it into something."
Toronto began the international signing period with a total of $2,817,000 in bonus pool money. A significant chunk of that has already been spent, but now the club has more funds at its disposal to acquire another player.
The money can only be used for players who were eligible to sign as of July 2, 2013. It doesn't apply to next year's crop, nor does it apply to players in professional leagues (Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Cuba apply), are at least 23 years old and have played a certain number of years in that league.
In other words, the money can't be applied to the likes of Masahiro Tanaka and Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz, but there are still plenty of other international players available.
"When we did the deal with the Phillies, we tried to get international cap space in that deal, but they wouldn't do it," Anthopoulos said of the recent trade that saw right-hander Brad Lincoln go to Philadelphia.
"It's not the easiest thing to trade for. How do you quantify it? How do you evaluate it? It's from the July 2 signings. A lot of teams at this point have said, 'We're done spending money and we're waiting for the next one.' Any money that we spend are players that are eligible to sign right now."
Toronto also made a selection during the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 Draft by taking right-hander Roberto Espinosa from Pittsburgh. The 21-year-old spent most of last year in Class A while posting a 2.55 ERA in 18 games. The Mexico native made his professional debut in 2009, but he has yet to pitch above High A.
The Blue Jays didn't lose any players during the Major League segment of the Rule 5 Draft, but left-hander Evan Crawford was selected by the White Sox in the Triple-A portion. Crawford was once viewed as a promising prospect in the Toronto organization, but he had fallen on hard times of late.
Crawford made his big league debut in 2012, but the 27-year-old was removed from the 40-man roster earlier this year and posted a 5.60 ERA between Class A and Double-A.