The Reds have agreed to terms with 19-year-old Dominican lefthander Luis Tejada for a $600,000 signing bonus.
Tejada had originally signed with the Braves for $125,000, but that contract never became official after Major League Baseball declared him ineligible to sign for one year over issues with his age. Tejada then came forward with a new date of birth—Dec. 23, 1993—that was a year older than he had previously presented. His penalty ended last month.
MLB’s penalty has turned into Tejada’s gain. After throwing around 88-92 mph when he signed with the Braves, Tejada’s fastball velocity has since jumped up to the mid-90s in short stints. At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Tejada throws a breaking ball that morphs between a slider and a curveball, showing shorter, slider-like break at times while offering more depth at others. He also throws a changeup that’s still a work in progress and is erratic with his control, so his future may be in the bullpen.
Tejada trained with Franklin Ferreira and Rudy Santin. Santin also worked with Dominican lefthander Jacob Constante when he signed with the Reds in January for $730,000. Constante, who turned 20 in March, has pitched well in the Dominican Summer League with a 2.45 ERA, 31 strikeouts and 11 walks in 22 innings.
Tejada is the biggest known signing for the Reds since the 2013-14 international signing period opened on July 2. The Reds have the second-smallest bonus pool in baseball at $1,862,100.
Tejada is the latest player to benefit from MLB’s disciplinary action. Cardinals righthander Carlos Martinez, Cubs righthander Juan Carlos Paniagua and Red Sox righthander Simon Mercedes are among the players whose bonuses have escalated significantly after seeing their stuff spike following a one-year ban on signing from the commissioner’s office.