Pena, 27, remained on the roster yesterday despite the fact that starting backstop Welington Castillo was activated from the disabled list. However, he survived only 24 hours, as the O’s understandably decided not to carry three catchers and deploy a six-man bullpen for more than a day. Though Baltimore may not relish the thought of losing Pena via outright waivers, he’s out of minor league options, thus making a DFA the only means by which the team can attempt to stash him back in Triple-A.
The son of five-time All-Star and four-time Gold-Glove-winning catcher Tony Pena, Francisco has totaled just 57 plate appearances in the Majors in parts of four seasons. He’s demonstrated a bit of power in that time, batting .241/.268/.407 with three homers, but he’s also punched out in nearly a third of his Major League plate appearances. The younger Pena is a career .249/.295/.452 hitter in parts of five Triple-A seasons.
Pena has halted 31 percent of stolen base attempts against him in Triple-A (plus a solid 5-for-9 showing in his limited big league time) and has drawn consistently above-average marks for his framing efforts in the minors (via Baseball Prospectus). That skill set could make him appealing to clubs, though his lack of minor league options means that any team to claim Pena on waivers or acquire him via trade will have to carry him on the 25-man roster.