10:00am: Pena will earn at a $535K base salary if he cracks the majors, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter link). His deal also features $10K in incentives and opt-outs at the end of spring training and on May 1.
6:19am: Former Royals catcher Brayan Pena is returning to the organization on a minor league contract, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link). The deal comes with an invitation to spring training for Pena, who previously played in Kansas City from 2009-12.
Pena, 35, had been sitting on the free agent market since the Cardinals released him Nov. 28. In doing so, the Redbirds had to eat the remaining $2.5MM left on the two-year, $5MM deal they awarded Pena in free agency last offseason. Lingering knee issues weighed down Pena during his stint in St. Louis, where he collected just 14 plate appearances.
As a member of the Royals, Tigers and Reds from 2009-15, the switch-hitter batted .262/.303/.355 in 1,805 plate appearances. Defensively, Baseball Prospectus has given Pena positive overall grades as a pitch framer, though he has fallen into the negatives in recent seasons. Pena has also thrown out 28 percent of attempted base stealers during his career – just above the 27 percent league-average mark.
Barring injuries, Pena is unlikely to see much major league action with Kansas City this season. The Royals’ starting catcher is eminently durable standout Salvador Perez, who has played at least 138 games in four straight seasons, and they gave backup Drew Butera a guaranteed $3.8MM in November.