The Detroit Tigers signed catcher Brayan Pena to a one year contract on Monday. Thirty year old Pena has played for two MLB teams over his eight year career. Over the eight seasons the Cuban born Pena played for the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Royals.
In 2012, Pena played in 68 games as the backup catcher to Royals starter Salvador Perez. Pena hit .236 with 10 doubles, one triple and two home runs. Pena also drove in 25 runs on the season. In his career, Pena is a .248 hitter through eight seasons. Pena has played in at least 60 games in each of his four seasons in Kansas City.
Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski had this to say about the deal, “We are pleased to add an experienced catcher like Brayan Pena to our club. As a switch-hitter, he will serve as a solid complement to Alex Avila as our back-up catcher for the 2013 season.”
Dombrowski’s statement made it pretty clear that Pena has won the backup role. At the 2012 MLB Winter Meetings, the Tigers did trade for catching prospect Ramon Cabrera. The Tigers have been relatively thin at the catcher position after watching backup Gerald Laird walk away for more playing time and more money.
The deal is a good fit for both parties. Pena is used to playing in around 60 games and the Tigers needed Laird in 62 games during the 2012 MLB season. Pena’s switch-hitting capabilities bring a little bit of depth to the already potent Tigers lineup.