Wednesday, March 03, 1999

Reds sign Quezada after all


But youngster not ready for majors

BY CHRIS HAFT
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SARASOTA, Fla. — The Reds took an expensive step into the widening pool of international talent acquisition Tuesday by signing outfielder Alejandro Quezada, 20, to a minor-league contract.

        Reds assistant general manager Doc Rodgers declined to reveal the amount of Quezada's signing bonus. The team had billed Quezada, who played last season in Japan for the Hiroshima Carp, as a player worthy of being a top-10 selection had he gone through the June amateur draft. Such players receive bonuses of $1.5 million and higher.

        What is known is that the Reds must pay the Carp $400,001 to obtain the rights to Quezada, who hit .311 (19-for-61) in 34 games with three homers and nine RBI. The right-handed batter was the first player made available under an agreement forged in January between the baseball commissioner's offices in the U.S. and Japan.

        Quezada, a native of the Dominican Republic, will start the season with Double-A Chattanooga.

        General Manager Jim Bowden rejected agent Michael Moline's request for a major-league contract for Quezada. Privately, Reds officials were less than thrilled with Quezada's performance, though he ran the 60-yard dash in a moderately fast 6.9 seconds. He hit four home runs in batting practice off coaches but hit limply against right-hander Keith Glauber, who'll probably start the season with Triple-A Indianapolis.

        Rodgers viewed the agreement symbolically, citing the Reds' need to “make a splash” in countries such as the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Japan and Panama, where most major league franchises have begun to acquire talent.

       



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