The Royals agreed to a minor league contract with catcher José Briceño, according to an announcement from the Atlantic League. The 29-year-old was assigned to Triple-A Omaha, where he made his team debut yesterday.
Briceño has spent more than a decade in pro ball since signing with the Rockies as an amateur out of Venezuela back in 2009. He was involved in a pair of trades as a prospect — first going from Colorado to the Braves for David Hale, then joining Andrelton Simmons in heading to the Angels for Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis — before reaching the big leagues in 2018. Briceño picked up his most MLB experience that season, posting a .239/.299/.385 line in 128 plate appearances with the Halos.
Los Angeles released Briceño in 2019 but brought him back on a minor league deal. He appeared in two games for the big league club in 2020 but was outrighted back off the roster at the end of the season. He returned to his original organization last winter, signing a non-roster deal with Colorado. The Rox cut him loose after he scuffled to a .218/.261/.436 line in 33 games despite playing in one of pro ball’s most hitter-friendly environments in Albuquerque.
After being let go by Colorado, Briceño signed with the Atlantic League’s Lexington Legends. He mashed at a .333/.396/.680 clip there last summer, and while he’s been off to a slow start offensively this season, the Royals will add him to the organizational catching corps. Salvador Pérez and Cam Gallagher are both on the injured list, leaving MJ Melendez and Sebastian Rivero as the only two healthy backstops on the 40-man roster. That duo is in the majors, so Kansas City was in position to add some experienced upper minors depth behind the plate.