Brayan Pena Rumors

Reds To Sign Brayan Pena

The Reds have agreed to a two-year contract with catcher Brayan Pena, according to Enrique Rojas of Pena, who is represented by the Kinzer Management Group, will earn at least $1.25MM in the first year of the deal, though complete financial terms aren't yet available.

Pena, 32 in January, batted .297/.315/.397 with four homers as the primary backup for Detroit's Alex Avila in 2013. A switch-hitter, Pena was significantly better as a left-handed hitter (.801 OPS) than as a right-handed hitter (.608 OPS) — a trend that he's shown throughout his career.

Pena joins incumbent catchers Devin Mesoraco and Ryan Hanigan on Cincinnati's 40-man roster, which figures to be one more catcher than the team needs. Hanigan projects to earn $2.3MM in arbitration next season, so the Reds could look to trade him elsewhere or non-tender him following a season in which he batted .198/.306/.261 — easily the worst numbers of his career. Mesoraco has certainly failed to live up to his lofty prospect status at this point, but he's still just 25 years old and is not yet arbitration eligible, so I'd imagine the Reds don't consider him the odd man out.

Tigers Will Not Re-Sign Brayan Pena

The Tigers have informed Brayan Pena that he will not be brought back for the 2014 season.  The catcher revealed the information himself via his Twitter account and's Jason Beck confirmed the news with a Tigers spokesperson and with Paul Kinzer, Pena's agent.

Pena, 31, signed a one-year, $865K deal last winter to be Detroit's backup catcher but ended up playing much more than expected due to Alex Avila's injury problems and struggles at the plate.  Pena hit .297/.315/.397 in 243 PA, the most playing time he has received in his nine-year Major League career. 

Pena, a switch-hitter, was particularly dangerous from the left side of the plate, posting an .801 OPS against right-handed pitching.  Kinzer could point to those batting splits as evidence at his client deserves to at least be part of a platoon, rather than just a backup.  Whatever the role, it seems very likely that Pena will find another Major League contract this offseason given the thin catching market. 

The Tigers plan to look within their system to replace Pena, according to Kinzer.  Bryan Holaday and James McCann will get chances to become Avila's backup, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Detroit sign a veteran to a minor league deal to add some Spring Training depth.

Tigers To Sign Brayan Pena

The Tigers announced that they agreed to a one-year contract with catcher Brayan Pena. Pena, a client of the Wasserman Media Group, was granted free agency by the Royals on November 28th. President and GM Dave Dombrowski suggested Pena will be an important part of Detroit's bench in 2013.

“As a switch-hitter, he will serve as a solid complement to Alex Avila as our backup catcher for the 2013 season,” Dombrowski said.

Pena, who turns 31 next month, appeared in 68 games for the Royals in 2012, posting a .236/.262/.321 batting line in 226 plate appearances. He has a .248/.286/.350 batting line in eight seasons with the Braves and Royals. Former Tigers backup Gerald Laird signed with Atlanta earlier this offseason.

Minor Moves: Volstad, Pena, Balester, Solarte, Buck

Here are Wednesday's minor moves…

  • Right-hander Chris Volstad and catcher Brayan Pena have rejected their outright assignments and elected free agency, the Royals announced (on Twitter). Both players were designated for assignment last week.
  • The Rangers have signed Collin Balester to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The 26-year-old right-hander allowed 14 runs in 18 innings for the Tigers this year while pitching to a 3.64 ERA in 47 Triple-A innings.
  • The Rangers have also signed Yangervis Solarte to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training according to Morosi. The 25-year-old infielder hit .288/.340/.405 with 11 homers in 568 plate appearances for Texas' Triple-A affiliate this season.
  • The Padres have signed Travis Buck to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, report Baseball America's Matt Eddy (on Twitter). Buck, 29, hit .216/.284/.311 in 81 plate appearances for the Astros this year.
  • The Padres also re-signed catcher Eddy Rodriguez and right-hander Daniel Stange to minor league deals with invites to camp, according to Eddy. The 26-year-old Rodriguez went 1-for-5 with a homer for San Diego this year, his big league debut.

Royals Designate Seven For Assignment

The Royals announced that they designated seven players for assignment to create 40-man roster space for players who would otherwise have been eligible for the Rule 5 draft. The Royals designated right-handers Vin Mazzaro and Chris Volstad, left-hander Ryan Verdugo, catcher Brayan Pena, infielder Clint Robinson and outfielder Derrick Robinson for assignment.

The Royals, who are also designating catcher Adam Moore for assignment, now have a full 40-man roster. They selected the contracts of left-handers Chris DwyerDonnie JosephJohn LambJustin Marks and Mike Montgomery, and right-hander J.C. Gutierrez in related moves.

The move could amount to an early non-tender for two players. Pena was on track for a salary in the $1.1MM range as a third time arbitration eligible player. Meanwhile, Volstad projected to earn $3MM as a second time eligible player.

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Monday

In advance of tomorrow's 11am central time deadline to exchange arbitration figures, settlements will be rolling in today.  Follow all of the action with MLBTR's arbitration tracker.  The latest for players under $4MM:

AL Central Links: Tigers, Pena, Buehrle, Acta

The Tigers' magic number for clinching the AL Central is nine after Brandon Inge's walkoff blast against the Twins this afternoon.  Red-hot Detroit has won eight games in a row and the team looks like a sure bet to reach the postseason for the first time since 2006.

Let's round up the latest from the division…

  • Intra-divisional trades made been a big part of the Tigers' success, writes Lynn Henning for the Detroit NewsJhonny Peralta, Delmon Young and Wilson Betemit have all come to Detroit from AL Central rivals over the last two seasons.
  • Brayan Pena wants to keep playing for the Royals and is happy to remain a backup catcher, reports Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
  • Following last night's game, Mark Buehrle told reporters that he plans to work out this offseason as if he'll be pitching next season, but he doesn't know if a contract will get worked out with the White Sox. You can watch the video on Buehrle will be a free agent for the first time in his career after the season, and he's hinted at retirement in the past.
  • Ozzie Guillen, for his part, thinks Buehrle will pitch in 2012.  "Oh, he's staying," Guillen tells ESPN Chicago.  "I talk to him every day and he never mentions [to] me anything about retirement. I think this kid's got a lot left to give [to] baseball. I think this kid can help a lot of big league ballclubs. Believe me, I don't think he's retiring."
  • In that same piece, Guillen also reiterated his commitment to the White Sox, saying he wishes to manage the club in 2012 and for "the next 20 years."
  • Joe Mauer talks to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (video link) about his season, his future behind the plate and the Twins' struggles.  Two days ago, more than 3,000 MLBTR voters said the Twins have been baseball's most disappointing team this season. 
  • "That's a good question for the off-season," said Indians GM Chris Antonetti when asked about manager Manny Acta's club option for 2013 by Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Acta will be in the final year of his three-year contract next season, and Antonetti made it clear that he's pleased with the job his manager has done.
  • Tigers manager Jim Leyland told Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press that they're "thrilled" about the Delmon Young acquisition. "It's worked out pretty good so far, and when he steps in that batter's box he's a man," said Leyland. "He's going to get his rips and has a pretty good idea how to hit and what pitchers do."

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post

Royals Rumors: Pena, Treanor, May, Adcock

The latest on the Royals, who acquired Matt Treanor today…

  • It seems that the Royals will team Brayan Pena and Treanor behind the plate, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). This means Lucas May might not break camp with the Royals.
  • May is out of options and GM Dayton Moore says the Royals are "probably looking to do something" with him. A trade is the preferred route, according to Dutton (on Twitter).
  • Moore confirmed to Dutton that Rule 5 selection Nate Adcock will make the team (Twitter link).
  • Rany Jazayerli analyzes each pitcher on the Royals' projected Opening Day staff.

Royals Agree To Terms With Betemit, Pena

The Royals have agreed to terms on one-year contracts with infielder Wilson Betemit and catcher Brayan Pena, reports Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.  Betemit will make $1MM next season, while Pena will earn $660K.  The Royals avoid going to arbitration with both players.

Betemit signed a minor league deal with Kansas City last winter and ended up delivering a career-best season in 2010.   He hit .297/.378/.511 in 315 plate appearances with the Royals and received regular playing time at third base following Alberto Callaspo's trade to the Angels.  Betemit just turned 29 last month and is a nice bargain at that price for K.C. given his versatile infield glove and his switch-hitting bat.

Pena is expected to take on at least a platoon role behind the plate next season.  He has a .703 OPS in 357 plate appearances over his two years in Kansas City.

Odds & Ends: Dunn, Phillies, Crisp, Molina, Fielder

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