Despite comments from the team's general manager suggesting otherwise, the Reds do have a deal with a prominent Venezuelan righthander, according to Baseball America's sources.
BA reported on Tuesday afternoon that the Reds had reached a deal with 16-year-old Venezuelan righthander Jonathan Perez for $825,000 . When a reporter from the Cincinnati Inquirer asked Reds general manager Walt Jocketty on Tuesday if an agreement had been reached, Jocketty responded in a text message:
"Not to my knowledge, and I'm sure I would have known about it."
Jocketty did not unequivocally deny that the Reds had a deal with Perez. While it's possible that his team had a deal for a pitcher worth just less than $1 million without his knowledge, his statement strongly suggested that there is no deal in place. Jocketty did not respond to Baseball America's request to clarify his statement.
Despite Jocketty's comments, multiple international sources have confirmed to BA that the Reds do have a deal with Perez. The sources all said the deal is worth $825,000.
On Tuesday night, a Facebook account that other international sources have confirmed belongs to Jonathan Perez had a picture of Perez posing for a picture while wearing a Reds cap and shirt, standing between top Reds officials in Latin America in front of a wall painted with a Reds logo. By the next night, the picture was removed.
Perez became eligible to sign when the international signing period opened on July 2. At 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, Perez has good mechanics and a projectable body that have helped his fastball already develop from the mid-80s earlier in the year to touching the low-90s before July 2. He pitches downhill with sink on his fastball and has a good idea of how to pitch for his age, though his offspeed pitches are still raw.
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