The Royals have acquired catcher Tony Cruz from the Cardinals in exchange for young infielder Jose Martinez, Kansas City announced. The club designated fellow backstop Francisco Pena for assignment to clear roster space, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets.
Cruz lost his backup job with St. Louis after the team inked free agent Brayan Pena. He is projected by MLBTR to earn $1MM in his second season of arbitration eligibility. That’s just $100K shy of the projection for incumbent Kansas City backup receiver Drew Butera, who could now be displaced by the new addition.
The 29-year-old Cruz owns a meager .220/.262/.310 slash line in 633 plate appearances over the last five years. That’s poor, even for a catcher, though it does rate above Butera’s own lifetime production. Obviously, though, Kansas City isn’t looking for much out of a reserve catcher. Just like Yadier Molina in St. Louis, Royals backstop Salvador Perez handles the vast majority of the duty.