Friday, February 26, 1999
Dominican OF's reviews mixed
BY CHRIS HAFT
The Cincinnati Enquirer
SARASOTA, Fla. Occasionally, as he'd pound a pitch over the wall or lose his cap in pursuit of a fly ball, Alejandro Quezada would conjure thoughts of Willie Mays.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
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But Quezada, the 20-year-old Dominican outfielder who underwent a tryout Thursday with the Reds, also looked plain enough to prompt doubts about whether he could match Willie Greene.
Quezada has commanded disproportionate attention because of two elements: Time and money. Through a cooperative program launched by the American and Japanese major leagues, Quezada, who played last year for the Hiroshima Carp, became available to negotiate exclusively with Cincinnati until Tuesday.
The Reds must pay the Carp $400,001 if they sign Quezada, who hit, ran, fielded and threw for General Manager Jim Bowden and his legion of assistants. Bowden refused to comment after the workout; Quezada, who looked two or three inches shorter than the 6-foot height listed on his press release, does not speak English.
Quezada's total price tag likely would exceed $2 million, since Bowden already has said that the right-handed hitter would be a top 10 pick if he were an amateur draft choice. First baseman Carlos Pena, last year's No.10 selection, received a $1.85 million bonus from the Texas Rangers.
Quezada isn't worth it, if you listened to Reds officials who privately dismissed his bat as slow and projected him as a fourth outfielder, at best.
If you listened to his agent, Michael Moline, he's a bargain.
He has succeeded and performed at a higher level than any draft pick, said Moline, referring to Quezada's Japanese output (.311 with three homers and nine RBI in 61 at-bats).
Moline, who intends to continue bargaining with the Reds today, spoke with tempered enthusiasm about his client's workout, which included:
Four home runs off Double-A Chattanooga manager Mark Berry and minor-league field coordinator Donnie Scott in batting practice with Barry Larkin and Greg Vaughn at Ed Smith Stadium, the better to simulate a big-time atmosphere;
Splitting a pair of 60-yard sprint races against 30-year-old Keith Gordon, a career minor leaguer who had six at-bats with the dreadful 1993 Reds;
An ordinary round of batting practice against right-hander Keith Glauber, who'll probably start the season at Triple-A Indianapolis.
I don't think it shows his full talent, Moline said of the workout, noting that Quezada has not played in four months. But all things considered, in a very difficult environment, he did very well. When I hear their people bandy about words like "special' and "awesome' when it comes to throwing and things like that, it's fine.
ETC.: Telecasts for three exhibition games have been scheduled on Fox Sports Ohio: March 15 against the New York Yankees, 7:05 p.m.; March 19 against Boston, 7:05 p.m.; and March 21 against Texas, 1:05 p.m.
Pitchers Scott Sullivan, Gabe White, Manuel Barrios and Rob Bell signed their 1999 contracts. Thirteen Reds remain unsigned.
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