The Royals may be ready to cut ties with catchers John Buck and Miguel Olivo this winter, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Buck is a non-tender candidate, while Olivo has a $3.3MM mutual option. Dutton also speaks of mixed reviews on rookie catcher Brayan Pena. My take: if the Royals decide to enter the free agent market, they can consider names such as Rod Barajas, Ramon Hernandez, Jason Kendall, Bengie Molina, Ivan Rodriguez, Brian Schneider, and Jason Varitek. Arizona's Chris Snyder could potentially be available via trade.
Dutton traces Buck's history as a major piece in the Carlos Beltran deal. The 29 year-old has a career-best .446 SLG in limited playing time, but he's never mustered an OBP above .308 in his career. He's easy to run on as well, unlike Olivo. Olivo changed his mind and re-signed with the Royals in November once he was promised the starting gig. He has better power than Buck but is even worse at getting on base. I think Pena deserves a better shot; he's only 28 in January and he's showing improved power this year. He seems just as good as most of the options listed above.