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Brayan Pena signs with the Reds

Nov 8, 2013, 10:39 AM EST

Brayan Pena AP AP

Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the Reds have signed catcher Brayan Pena to a two-year contract. The financials aren’t available and its all still pending a physical to be performed in Cincinnati on Tuesday, but other than that they got themselves a backup catcher.

Pena was with the Tigers last year where he hit .297/.315/.397 in 243 plate appearances. That was a bit better than his career numbers, but not totally out of whack. He’s been a backup his entire career, first with Atlanta and then Kansas City before his year in Detroit.

It’s hard to say what this means for current catchers Devin Mesoraco and Ryan Hanigan. But Hanigan is arbitration-eligible, so he may be the odd man out, clearing the job for Mesoraco after a year in which Hanigan got a bit more play than a backup catcher can usually expect despite being awful at the plate.

  1. historiophiliac - Nov 8, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    That sucks. He was a much better back up than Lard and has great personality. Boooo!!!

    /pouts

    • stex52 - Nov 8, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      Sort of a “Miss Congeniality” thing, eh, philiac?

      I think a lot of solid reserves will sign elsewhere as Detroit figures out what to do with all of those arbitration-eligible cases.

      Like, I find it hard to believe that would let Infante walk. But looks like they may.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 8, 2013 at 11:35 AM

        Actually, I think he’s a smart player too, because he made a couple of notable plays that required quick thinking this season that impressed. But, yeah, he’s fun. I am sorry to lose him. He’s better than Holaday, IMO. Avila takes such a beating, you really need a solid backup.

        I’d hate to lose Infante too. I know he’s not the greatest, but he’s better than our platoon guys. (God help me if they put Dud Kelly there.) Plus, Iggy makes up a little for that. It makes sense to me to keep Infante and worry about the BP. Honestly, that’s the only thing I would really change this off-season, if I were DD. Of course, I’m not — but I think if you strenghten that, we have a championship team (barring injuries, suspensions, blah, blah, blah).

  2. tigers182 - Nov 8, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    The Tigers have Holaday who has been named back up catcher, who is very good handling a pitching staff and has a solid bat for a catcher. James McCann is near ready to become a major leaguer and Ramon Cabrera is just behind him. Pena had a good bat off the bench but ranked near the bottom of many defensive categories while Avila is near the top.

  3. Marty McKee - Nov 8, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    I would hate to see Mesoraco go, but I expect the Reds to trade him to Atlanta to fill some important holes in the Reds’ lineup. Mez is attractive trade bait who never got the playing time he deserved in Cincy. For whatever reason, Dusty didn’t seem to like him (not unusual for Baker; see Marshall, Sean).

    • thomas844 - Nov 8, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      Mesoraco won’t be leaving. He is young and the Reds have been preparing for him to be their starting catcher for a while now. Hanigan has been great for the Reds in years past, but he is getting older and more injury-prone. I’m sure there are a few teams who will want his services, but Hanigan is the odd man out in Cincinnati.

      • Marty McKee - Nov 8, 2013 at 2:20 PM

        I sure hope you’re right, thomas. I still think Mesoraco is the Reds’ future (so does Jocketty, I presume, who traded Grandal for Latos). But I can’t imagine why the Reds would trade Hanigan and keep Pena, who is much worse defensively than Hanigan, nor that teams will be knocking on Jocketty’s door with bids for a 33-year-old catcher coming off a terrible offensive year.

        But like I mentioned, I hope this means Mez is officially the Reds #1 catcher with Pena available to spot him 40 games per season. Why the Reds couldn’t do this with Hanigan as the backup, I don’t know.

      • thomas844 - Nov 8, 2013 at 2:36 PM

        Mez does deserve more playing time. Although his numbers don’t still don’t look that great, he has shown signs of improvement at the plate. He just needs more ABs in order to reach his full potential as a hitter and become the .280 AVG and 20 HR guy he was projected to be.

      • yankeefan1950 - Nov 8, 2013 at 4:08 PM

        Hanigan is the odd man out? Is he older with declining skills and injury prone? If so then he’s Brian Cashman’s type of player!

      • jwbiii - Nov 8, 2013 at 9:14 PM

        yankeefan1950,

        The Reds' signing of Brayan Pena frees up the Reds to either non-tender Ryan Hanigan or trade him. Rays, Yankees have liked him in the past.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 8, 2013

    • paperlions - Nov 8, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      Who in the world does Atlanta have that is available for trade and that would fill important holes in the Red’s lineup? The Braves aren’t exactly swimming in position player depth.

      • Marty McKee - Nov 8, 2013 at 2:21 PM

        Who’s to know who’s available for trade? Justin Upton would look pretty good in LF for Cincy in 2014, and the Braves will likely need a new catcher.

      • paperlions - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:18 PM

        …and you think Upton would be fair compensation for Mesoraco?

      • Marty McKee - Nov 8, 2013 at 5:18 PM

        Not Mez alone, of course not.

      • ken14andersonforhof - Nov 8, 2013 at 7:54 PM

        hanigan and ludwick for upton!!

      • paperlions - Nov 8, 2013 at 7:55 PM

        For that haul, I’m sure Atlanta would throw in Simmons…and probably Freeman.

  4. thomas844 - Nov 8, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    This is a really nice pickup. The sacrifice on defense is worth having the extra pop on the bench. After having guys like Hannahan and Izturis stink it up at the plate, it will be nice to a have a solid, switch-hitting option like Pena. This team has always been great at defense and pitching but their mediocre hitting and lack of baserunning (pre-Hamilton) is what has kept them from going deep into the playoffs. Hopefully this is a sign that the Reds will focus on improving their offense during the offseason.

    • Marty McKee - Nov 8, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      I believe the departure of Baker and Jacoby and their belief in “aggressiveness” at the plate automatically means an upgrade in the Reds’ offense. We’ll find out next week who the new hitting coach would be. Hopefully it will be someone who understands Votto is a great hitter and why.

  5. donttouchdownmethere - Nov 8, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Pena is a Cuban native. Is Chapman finally going to fully transition to starter next year and have a personal catcher that he can have great communication and share commom interests with? It would be a smart move all of the way arround for a former pitching coach turned manager. Either way I will be sad to see Hanigan go, he is great with pitchers. Hopefully if he does not recieve much interest from other teams he would be willing to come back to the Reds organization as a coach/instructor at some point.

    • jm91rs - Nov 8, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      I think the “former catcher turned coach” job is Corky Miller’s for the taking.

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