The Royals over the weekend announced the signing of minor league free agent catcher Francisco Pena to a major league contract, which assigns him a spot on the 40 man roster. The twenty-four year old right-handed hitting backstop is the son of former Royals manager Tony Pena and the younger brother of former Royals shortstop Tony Pena Jr. The Royals are currently scouting Francisco's 15 year-old sister as we speak.
Pena had spent his entire minor league career with the New York Mets, hitting .236/.286/.348 in his professional career. He enjoyed his best offensive season last year, although it was in the hyper-offensive hitting environment of Las Vegas. He hit .257/.294/.459 with a career high 9 HR 43 RBI.
He must be a good defender, because he has shown little ability to hit in the professional level. Here is J.J. Piccolo:
"He's currently playing in the Dominican Winter League and he's really catching exceptionally well. He's got a good feel for the game, he's a smart kid. Defensively, we think he's well above average and offensively he's put up some solid numbers. And he's still young."
The Royals have four catchers on the 40 man roster - Salvador Perez, George Kottaras, Brett Hayes, and Pena. Kottaras and Hayes are arbitration eligible and are possible non-tender candidates.