While we all await Jason Kendall's return with all the feelings of awe, terror, anticipation and dread expressed in Yeats's "The Second Coming" it's worth taking a look at how the Royal catchers have done this year.
We can get the game-calling and defense out of the way, because there's no sense in talking about. I'm sure the Royals have concerns about Pena and I'm sure they believe Matt Treanor has done just the most amazing job imaginable. Well, unless Kendall was back there. Maybe they are right, maybe they are wrong. We know what they think and that's that.
In terms of offensive production, which we can actually measure, Treanor and Pena have been bad. Worse actually, than expected. It may be time to start worrying about Pena.
Their composite line is .219/.321/.344, which is good for a .665 OPS, 8th best in the AL. AL catching in general is in a horrible condition, however, so while the Royals aren't gaining an advantage at catcher, they aren't losing one either. The AL average line is .228/.290/.384.
(Side note: I believe that in large part the so-called "Year of the Pitcher" last season was a self-fulfilling prophecy enacted by MLB collectively. Just about every team is going with all-defense, no-hit options at SS, CF, C, again, in adherence to old-school baseball orthodoxy. This is supposed to be a response to pitching & defense mattering more, which it is, as a cause rather than an effect.)
Here's the individual breakdown:
I don't know if Treanor has much improvement to offer. He's a 90 year old journeyman backup catcher beloved by guys like Ned Yost. It's almost a badge of honor to see how bad guys like these can hit. That being said, he has one of the highest OBPs on the team at .338. Treanor!
Pena's start has been disappointing, and I worry that if he continues to see only part time action, he may never get going. He actually hit for a similar line last season, so perhaps his somewhat competent 2009 season was just his peak year. I especially worry about Pena's power, which has eroded in recent years. Like so many Seitzer students, he's now a ground ball machine.