Blue Jays pay $1.1 million for 16-year-old prospect
Jan. 08, 1997
TORONTO (AP) _ The Toronto Blue Jays have signed 16-year-old shortstop Josephang Bernhardt for a $1.1 million bonus, a record for a Dominican amateur.
Bernhardt, a native of San Pedro de Macoris and a nephew of former White Sox outfielder Juan Bernhardt, signed with Tampa Bay last summer and attended the Devil Rays' instructional league.
But that deal was voided by the commissioner's office when it was determined Bernhardt was only 15 when he signed. Dominicans cannot sign before July 1 of the year of their 16th birthday, and Bernhardt was declared a free agent.
``We really wanted Toronto to have him because of its Latin program,'' said Bernhardt's agent, Scott Boras. ``The Jays will provide a personal assistant for him, English lessons and four trips a year for the family to visit wherever he's playing.''
The Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles were also in the bidding.