Veteran backstop Brayan Pena is hanging up his spikes after a dozen seasons in the majors, with Pena tweeting confirmation. George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press recently reported on Twitter that Pena will manage a Gulf Coast League team for the Tigers.
Pena, 36, carved out a lengthy MLB career despite never producing much at the plate at the game’s highest level. Over 1950 total plate appearances, he produced a collective .259/.299/.351 slash line with 23 home runs.
It probably helped that Pena hits from both sides of the plate, something of a rare commodity for a backstop. He was particularly useful as a lefty bat, meaning he made for a solid platoon option for most regular catchers. And teams obviously believed in him behind the dish.
Pena broke into the majors back in 2005, kicking off a four-year run with the Braves during which he never once took fifty plate appearances in a given season. He was a more regular presence during a four-year run with the Royals, who picked him up via waiver claim, but saw his offensive productivity decline in each year in Kansas City.
After a nice bounceback season with the Tigers, Pena secured a two-year deal with the Reds heading into the 2014 season. He ended up receiving semi-regular playing time there due to injuries to other players, appearing in 223 games and producing a .263/.313/.339 slash. That showing led the Cardinals to give Pena a two-year, $5MM deal in the 2015-16 offseason, but he appeared in only nine games in 2016 due to a knee injury and was released after the season.
Pena had joined the Tigers organization in hopes of receiving a chance to continue playing, but primarily in order to work with the team’s young players, as Evan Woodberry of MLive.com reported this spring. With no real prospects of playing his way back to the majors in Detroit or elsewhere, it seems, the long-time receiver will turn his attention fully to the next phase of his baseball life. MLBTR wishes Pena the best of luck with his new career path.
I think he can turn out to be a hell of a manager. When he was in the Tigers dugout, he always had the guys much more loose it seemed.
I’ll never forget this play…
He had a real good cardinal career. Showed up overweight and looked like he had no desire to be there
He likely had that ear to ear grin when his agent secured a 2 year deal. Like Gregerson did when he got a 2 year deal with a vesting option if he manages to pitch in 60 games in 2019.
“Looked like he had no desire to be there”
Considering I’ve never seen a picture of an unhappy Brayan Pena, I’d say this is the most inaccurate statement you could have possibly made.
Career WAR, 0.0.
Yet never languished on the FA market, and managed to make about $12 mil in his career.
I wonder if there’s more to this game the Sabrmetrics?
Good pitch framer, good pitch caller, good handler of pitchers? Obviously, a good clubhouse influence. Things that don’t show up in WAR for catchers.
A true grinder. $12mm is not a bad lifetime for most people and he made enough friends to get a coaching gig. His pension will be more than 98% of Americans earn in a year. For a guy who road a raft to the usa, pretty much a role model.
Not a great career but definitely a solid one. Happy Retirement Pena.
Dude is one of the great personalities. Rare to see the big guy without a huge, ear to ear grin. I think he’d be a great addition to a broadcast booth or studio show
Good luck to you in the future Mr. Pena!
Maybe Brayan can have a race with Gerald Laird to see who manages in the Majors first.
Laird is no longer a manager in the Tigers system it seems.
According to Wikipedia (I know, I know) Laird is still the manager of the short season Connecticut Tigers.
Wikipedia is wrong.
Never heard of him.
Retire at 36. Sounds like a scam.