Oakland A’s add catching depth with Francisco Pena
By David Hill
The Oakland A’s have added depth at the catcher position, signing Francisco Pena to a one year contract.
Despite all the young talent the Oakland A’s have behind the plate, the team could use a veteran catcher. Even if that catcher is serving as a depth role in AAA, having a veteran that has been through the battles could be a tremendous help to the development of their youth. It would potentially be a minor investment that could have a major impact going forward.
On Tuesday, the A’s added that veteran backstop. Long time minor league catcher Francisco Pena has been signed to a one year deal worth $600,000 if he reaches the majors.
The son of former All Star catcher Tony Pena, he has been in professional ball since signing as an amateur free agent with the Mets in 2006. In that time, Pena has made just 86 appearances over parts of five years, with most of his action coming with the Cardinals in 2018.
That also marked his last major league action. In 202 plate appearances spanning 86 games, he has produced a .216/.249/.311 batting line, hitting five homers, but striking out 63 times with just eight walks. He received 142 of those plate appearances in 2018 as he was given an opportunity to prove that he can be a viable major league backup, but was unable to force himself into a role with the bat.
His defense also did not live up to its reputation. Pena has cost his teams four runs behind the plate while throwing out just 23% of would-be base stealers. His 2018 season was particularly rough behind the plate, as Pena cost the Cardinals those four runs and only threw out one of 14 attempted base stealers.
Chances are, Pena will not make much of an impact upon the major league roster in 2021. But he will provide a solid depth piece in AAA just in case he is needed. And, as a long time minor veteran and the son of a noted major leaguer, he could pass on tips and advice to the A’s youngsters. In a way, he could be another coach on the bench.
The Oakland A’s added that minor league depth catcher in Francisco Pena. Hopefully, that will be his only role in 2021.