Brayan Pena Rumors
After declining their 2010 option for Miguel Olivo, the Royals are searching for a catcher according to Bob Dutton of The KC Star. Dutton mentions that it would be best for the team to fill their hole behind the plate prior to December 12th, allowing them to non-tender the incumbent John Buck.
“We led all of baseball (last season) in passed balls and wild pitches,” general manager Dayton Moore said. “That will be fixed in 2010. Our defense in general is our main objective to fix before next season.
“And it starts behind the plate.”
The team has indicated that they aren't ready to hand the starting job over to Brayan Pena, even though he made "significant defensive strides last season."
Dutton mentions one interesting rumor to watch, a "deal sending second baseman Alberto Callaspo to the Los Angeles Dodgers for catcher A.J. Ellis." Callaspo, who hit .300/.356/.457 in 2009, would help fill the Dodgers' second base vacancy, while the 28-year-old Ellis would give KC a defensive standout behind the plate. Ellis also has a career .398 OBP in the minors, with more walks than strikeouts in nearly 1,800 plate appearances.
Even though there are plenty of catching options in free agency, Moore acknowledged that his team prefers to improve their club through trades.
“Our free-agent pursuit will not be as aggressive as in the past,” he said. “We’re going to focus on trades first. We’re going to exhaust every opportunity to make trades.
“In the previous two offseasons, we’ve been more likely to pop a free agent or two early on. I look for us to exhaust every possible trade scenario this offseason before we enter into the free-agent market.”
Tim previewed the trade market for catchers back in October. See any fits?
Who wants a 27 year-old switch-hitting catcher who hit .303/.376/.462 at Triple A last year? No one, apparently. According to MLB.com's Dick Kaegel, Royals catcher Brayan Pena cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple A Omaha. This marks Pena's fifth trip to Triple A. In their 2007 Handbook, Baseball America suggested Pena's defense was at least decent. In a world of $2MM backup catchers, it's surprising Pena wasn't picked up.
According to Greg Schaum of KCSP 610 radio in Kansas City, the Royals have designated catcher Brayan Pena for assignment to clear roster space for Jose Guillen. Pena, 27, was 2-for-7 this season with one RBI. With Miguel Olivo and John Buck splitting most of the time behind the plate, he was a bit of a misfit.
This information was obtained in an e-mail.
According to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, opposing team scouts have been tracking the Royals' surplus of catchers this spring.
"A lot of teams need catchers," one scout told Dutton, "and they've got three guys who can help a big-league club. You know they're probably only going to keep two. So you know somebody is going to be available."
The Royals have Miguel Olivo, John Buck and Brayan Pena in camp. Olivo will start at catcher on Opening Day, so Buck and Pena are the most likely to be moved. Dutton writes that "club officials believe a trade market exists for all three players."
TUESDAY: The 2010 mutual option is for $3.25MM, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Olivo decided to stay because he was promised the starting catcher job. John Buck is still expected to receive plenty of playing time, and catcher Brayan Pena was added to the 40-man roster.
MONDAY: According to Jesse Spector of the New York Daily News, the catcher Miguel Olivo will remain with the Royals for the 2009 season. Hell yes! The Royals exercised his $2.7MM option, and Olivo chose not to void it. Another mutual option for 2010 was added.
Olivo, 30, hit .255/.278/.444 in 306 plate appearances. He continued to show good power against lefties. He threw out 42.4% of baserunners, up from 32.9% in '07.
I woke up to a ton of small transactions this morning, so let's lead with them.
- In MLBTR-friendly transactions, the A's designated Lenny DiNardo and Kevin Melillo for assignment. The team made a bevy of other moves, though, recalling Travis Buck, Brad Ziegler, and Carlos Gonzalez, placing Joey Devine, Mike Sweeney, and Ryan Sweeney on the 15-day DL, and activating Kiko Calero and Eric Chavez from the DL.
- Brandon Medders, recently DFA by the Diamondbacks, has cleared waivers and has been assigned to AAA.
- Brayan Pena, recently DFA by the Braves, has been claimed by the Royals.
- Rangers RHP Franklyn German has refused an assignment to AAA, and will hit the free agent market.
- The Reds traded RHP Jim Brower to the Cubs for cash considerations. He has a double-digit major league ERA in limited time over the past two seasons.
Here are a few random notes from the MLBiverse...
- Paul Hagen is reporting that the Mets are interested in acquiring a first baseman and/or a corner outfielder. Hagen says that Omar Minaya is rumored to be interested in Kevin Millar, Jason Bay and Xavier Nady. Hagen must share a source with Dan Graziano, who mentions the same trio. Might Aaron Heilman be used as bait?
- According to the minor league deal that Jeff Weaver signed with the Brewers, if he was not called up by this Sunday he could ask for his release. The Brewers and Weaver's agent, Scott Boras, have agreed to extend that deadline to June 15.
- Mark Mulder, who has made three starts since 2006, announced that he would retire if a third surgery became necessary on his ailing shoulder.
- The Royals snagged catcher Brayan Pena off waivers from the Braves.
- Rany Jazayerli proposes a Cubs-Royals trade.
- Joel Sherman wonders if the Yankees could buy out Jason Giambi for $5MM and then re-sign him.
Thankfully, the calendar will soon flip to June, and trade rumors will start to heat up. To tide you over until then, here are a few notes from around the league.
- Sean McAdam wonders if Manny Ramirez's current slump will affect the team's decision to exercise his $20MM option for 2009. Manny sounded rather confident last month that the team would pick it up. And while it's nearly a given that he'll recover from this month, the Red Sox could read it as a sign of decline. Still, the chances of the option being picked up are still high.
- A few days after accepting an assignment to AAA Pawtucket, Julian Tavarez has instead opted for free agency.
- Couple of transaction notes. Braves C Brayan Pena has been activated from the DL, and immediately designated for assignment. Indians reliever Craig Breslow was also DFA.
Ken Rosenthal has his latest column up at FoxSports.com. As usual he is not shy about stirring up rumors. Let's take a look at what the rumor-guru has to say:
- Rosenthal notes that the Dodgers will go with Blake DeWitt at third base who has never played a game above AA. This comes after the Dodgers failed to acquire either the Astros' Mark Loretta, who was unavailable and the Royals' Esteban German, who was too expensive. The Royals were asking for the Dodgers' third best prospect, shortstop Chin-Lung Hu.
- He indicates that the Padres and the Rays are pursuing Matt Murton but the Cubs are holding out for a top pitching prospect in return, knowing Murton will be a starter on another club. Rosenthal quotes one GM as saying that the price "is way too high as of now". As many as five teams have shown interest in Murton.
- The Mets are among a dozen teams that have inquired about Brewers pitcher Claudio Vargas, who will not be in the rotation to begin the season. [Update: Sorry about this one. I had forgotten that the Brewers released Vargas earlier this week]
- The Reds have put Ryan Freel on the market, but more teams appear to be interested in Scott Hatteberg. However, Rosenthal indicates that it is unlikely for the Red to trade Hatteberg even if Joey Votto is named the starter.
- The Tigers, Reds and Orioles all tried to acquire backup catcher Brayan Pena from the Braves, but the Braves do not appear interested in letting him go
- Rosenthal says that Pat Gillick's history in Seattle may have played a part in the Phillies inability to land M's reliever Cha Seung Baek, who is out of options but made the roster as a reliever.
- Finally, Rosenthal notes that Mike Piazza is still working out with hopes of landing a gig at some point in '08. Rosenthal thinks that Piazza may have to come to the realization soon that his career may be over.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien talked to Braves GM Frank Wren, and he learned that Wren expects to "make a deal or two."
DOB says the Braves are looking to add a proven bench bat. They can spare an out of options reliever from the group of Blaine Boyer, Chris Resop, Tyler Yates, and Royce Ring. O'Brien sees Yates as the one to go. Catcher Brayan Pena and first baseman Scott Thorman are other possible trade chips.
As for who's coming to Atlanta, O'Brien pretty much ruled out Reed Johnson and Robert Fick. He considers Wes Helms a possibility. The Orioles and Giants are two teams with veterans to spare, though most are of the overpriced variety.