The Cincinnati Reds have agreed to terms on a two-year contract with catcher Brayan Pena, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com. While the complete financial terms of the deal are not yet known, Rojas reports that Pena will receive a minimum of $1.25 million in 2014.
Pena, who turns 32 in January, hit .297 with 4 HR and 22 RBI for the Tigers as Alex Avila's backup in 2013, establishing himself as one of the best-hitting backup catchers in the game. He was informed by the Tigers in late October that they were not interested in bringing him back for next season, and spent just over a week as a free agent before signing on with the Reds.
At first glance, the Reds seem like an odd landing spot for Pena because they already have Ryan Hanigan and Devin Mesoraco on the roster as catching options. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Mesoraco is the likely starter next season, signaling that a trade involving Hanigan could be on the horizon. Both Mesoraco (.238 average with 9 HR and 42 RBI in 103 games) and Hanigan (.198 average with 2 HR and 21 RBI in 75 games) struggled offensively in 2013, so the addition of Pena is kliekly an attempt to add offense at a weak position.
In nine major league seasons with the Braves (2005-2008), Royals (2009-2012) and Tigers (2013), Pena is a lifetime .258 hitter with 18 HR and 120 RBI. He has never played more than 72 games in a season, meaning that he will likely split time with Mesoraco in Cincinnati.
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