ROYAL BLOODLINES - The Reds are among the teams in the hunt to sign one of this year's hottest commodities in the Dominican Republic, 16-year-old catcher Francisco Pena.
The son of former big-league catcher and manager Tony Pena, Francisco already checks in at 6 feet 2, 200 pounds and is coveted by several major league clubs. By MLB rule, Sunday is the first day he'll be eligible to sign, and the Reds believe they're solidly in the mix.
"We've seen him several times, and he's been to our academy to work out," said Reds player development director Johnny Almaraz. "We definitely have an interest. We're going to pursue him aggressively and see what happens."
Pena, who lives in Santiago, had one previous brush with fame beyond his father. In 2001, he was the catcher on the Bronx team that went to the Little League World Series but was stripped of its third-place finish after star pitcher Danny Almonte was found to be two years older than he had claimed.