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Reds could be closing in on Perez

Reds could be closing in on Perez

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CINCINNATI -- The Reds may be in contention to sign another Cuban defector.

A reporter from ESPN Deportes tweeted late on Sunday that outfielder Felix Perez will sign with Cincinnati, though general manager Walt Jocketty did not confirm the report.

"We don't have a deal," Jocketty told MLB.com. "We're one of several clubs still talking to him. We're hoping to get it resolved in the next two or three days. He is a kid we've been pursuing for quite a while."

Perez was set to sign with the Yankees for $3.5 million almost one year ago until he was suspended by Major League Baseball for lying about his age. The Yankees broke off talks upon learning of the age discrepancy.

Perez, who was 24 but claimed to be 20, was reinstated in October and was free to negotiate with any club.

If Perez does join the Reds, he would be the second Cuban player signed by the club this year. In January, shock waves went across the league when Cincinnati won the battle to sign left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman, inking him for $30.25 million over six years. Chapman is pitching at Triple-A Louisville.

The Reds have stepped up their efforts in the past couple of years to become big players on the international signing market. In February 2008, coveted 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Juan Duran was given a $2 million signing bonus. Venezuelan Yorman Rodriguez, another 16-year-old outfielder, was signed later that summer for $2.5 million.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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