Several members of the Reds front office have credited assistant general manager Bob Miller as the key person who realized that Juan Duran, a 16-year-old outfielder who the Reds signed for $2 million, was even eligible to sign before July 2.
Miller worked in the office of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (NAPBL, now known as Minor League Baseball) back when the rule that allowed the Reds to sign Duran was instituted in the 1980s.
"I went down there to see him and they handed me a roster," Miller said. "I asked him in Spanish what his birthday was, he told me, and we signed him very quietly. We didn’t want him shopping it around. We met with his family and his buscone that night before any word got out."
Duran is still in the Dominican Republic, but could arrive in the United States before the end of spring training.
"He’s a big kid, and as big as he is, he’s better developed than a lot of kids," Miller said. "He said he weighs 204, and he’s 6-5, 6-6 with big-time power."
"I saw him hit two two home runs in two at-bats," Volquez said. "I saw him throw from the outfield. Unbelievable. I’ve never seen someone like that. He’s a little skinny right now. But he’s going to be really good."
The $2 million bonus the Reds gave to Duran is a franchise record for a bonus given to an international player, and is tied for the third-highest bonus in team history.