St Louis Cardinals Acquire Brayan Peña


The St Louis Cardinals signed free agent Brayan Peña to a two year deal.

The St Louis Cardinals picked up a bit of insurance in the catcher’s spot today. Free agent Brayan Peña, who turns 34 in January, signed a 2-year deal and will presumably take over backup catching duties from Tony Cruz.

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Peña broke into the league in 2005 with the Atlanta Braves. The switch-hitter played in both leagues in seasons with Kansas City, Detroit, and Cincinnati. Last year while playing in the Central Division for the Reds he hit .273/.334/.324 in 108 games.

The Cardinals’ backup catchers played a significant number of innings the past few seasons, including critical times in post-season play. Peña’s numbers suggest the ability to improve the situation as he plays defense slightly better than Cruz while providing a higher offensive output.

Over the past three seasons, Peña posted a .271 average versus .203 for Cruz. Both catchers walk about 5% of the time, but Peña strikes out at half the rate. While we don’t get the next Yadier Molina out of the pickup, we gained a solid backup and likely an upgrade over Cruz.

Things will get interesting for Cruz from here on out, as the club has been expected to still tender Tony Cruz a contract up until this point.

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Peña also filled in for Joey Votto in 2013, playing nearly 400 innings at first base. While he doesn’t possess the defensive and offensive numbers the Cards need in that position, he upgrades the ability to get on base over backup Mark Reynolds, while falling short on slugging percentage. Peña hit only 23 home runs in his 11 year MLB career.