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Sunday, July 9, 2006
Report: Mets sign Pena's son, 16, for $750,000

By Enrique Rojas

The New York Mets on Saturday signed Dominican prospect Francisco Pena, the son of former major-league catcher Tony Pena, a source told

The Mets, who paid Pena a bonus of $750,000, are not planning to make the move public until next week.

Besides the bonus, Pena would receive schooling expenses in case he decides to take up his studies again, and he could be invited to the Mets' training camp next spring.

"After intense negotiations with the most interested teams -- around 10 -- the Pena family decided to accept the Mets' offer," the source said.

According to the source, the presence of general manager Omar Minaya, also a Dominican native, in the Mets' front office was a major factor in Pena's decision to sign.

Pena, 16, is considered to be one of the best catching prospects in the Dominican Republic's baseball history.

"The kid is a good defensive catcher, but it is his bat what will take him far in baseball. We could say that he is a combination of Tony Pena's defense and Mike Piazza's bat," said Leo Mercedes, who runs the young player's career.

"I feel embarrassed to talk about my own son, but I think Francisco has a natural talent for batting, and as a catcher I can say that right now he has a better arm than I had when I was 16," said Tony Pena, now a Yankees coach who won four Gold Gloves and played in five All-Star games during his 18-year major-league career.

Tony Pena Jr., Tony Pena's eldest son, made his major-league debut two months ago with the Atlanta Braves.