Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Option Johnny Giavotella to Omaha, Recall Francisco Pena


Due to a hand injury to Salvador Perez that will keep him out of action for a couple of days, the Royals have called up catcher Francisco Pena from Omaha to provide the big league club with another backstop until Perez can return. To make room for Pena, Johnny Giavotella has been optioned back to Triple-A Omaha.

Pena, the son of former Royals’ manager Tony Pena and brother of former Royals’ shortstop-relief pitcher Tony Pena, Jr., was acquired this winter after spending his first 7 professional seasons in the Mets’ organization. Known more for his defensive prowess, Pena has shown quite a bit of power for the Storm Chasers this season, hitting 9 home runs in only 111 plate appearances, and posting an isolated slugging percentage of .300. He hasn’t gotten on base frequently (.309 OBP), and his numbers suggest he doesn’t make consistently solid contact, but that kind of power, even after adjusting for the hitter-friendly environment of the Pacific Coast League, is a nice thing to see from a catcher.

In the limited time I watched Pena this year, he seemed to move well behind the plate, blocking quite a few buried breaking balls. While I didn’t get a great chance to see his arm strength, most reports indicate that’s his biggest strength. If he can translate some of his offensive success to the major league level, Pena could provide a bit more value than Brett Hayes as the backup catcher. Granted, that is certainly a sizable “if.”

As for Giavotella, it was likely only a matter of time before he was sent back to Omaha in favor of Omar Infante, and with the way he’s been hitting in the last few games – that is, not well – it’s understandable for the team to make this move. I probably would have sent Mike Moustakas down instead, but that’s a discussion we’ve had 20 times over. Pedro Ciriaco will starting at second base until Infante returns from the disabled list.

Once Perez is ready for game action, either Hayes or Pena will have to be let go. If Pena is impressive, Hayes would need to be designated for assignment, as the latter is currently out of options.

Tags: Featured Francisco Pena Johnny Giavotella Kansas City Royals Popular

  • jimfetterolf

    Too bad about Gio, hoped he could finally stick. Frank Pena has looked good in Omaha, by some numbers, and when he was signed it was assumed he would be groomed as Perez’ back up. Still another chance for Moose to go down when Infante comes back.

    • Bear Brinkman

      “Meanwhile in other news,Lorenzo Cain was sent down to Omaha when his team leading avg. dipped below .300. When asked about the obvious glaring sub par year a certain player was having AGAIN Yost replied” we hope Lorenzo can get it together down there,besides he can’t play third base”…

      • jimfetterolf

        All Gio had to do was hit about .260 to compensate for the glove and he would stick. It’s sad, I was hoping for him. Not sure what it will take, he’s about my size and 40 years younger and I think I could hit better than him with a couple of hours in the cage. And I imagine ‘Zo could play 3rd, much less athletic position than CF. They should probably get Dyce some reps at 3rd, he has the quickness and the arm.

        • Geogman

          It would be nice if they gave Giavotella an extended shot but I imagine it’s hard to get it going when you’re only given a few games to show the organization what you can do. Meanwhile, Moustakas in his 4th year continues to get trotted out to 3rd. It’s beyond a joke at this point. It just points to the utter incompetence of this organization.

          • jimfetterolf

            Organization does have coaches and advanced F/x equipment that allows them to see things we don’t. Gio didn’t produce, plus he’s a worse defender and even baserunner than Moose, so decision was easy. More interesting decision will be when Infante comes back. I think that’s the one most likely to get Moose sent down.

          • Geogman

            I guess all the coaches and advanced F/x equipment, whatever that is, also see some things with Moustakas that we dumb fans just can’t.

          • jimfetterolf

            Quite likely. Wasn’t that long ago the fans were in hysterics over Escobar’s slow start. Doesn’t mean Moose shouldn’t be demoted, which I’ve been suggesting since last year, but also doesn’t mean Gio should stay. We’ll see what they do when infante comes back, then we’ll have one too many IFs and Moose lacks foot speed and versatility, so might be the time for him to head north. Ciriaco hits righties career at .277/.305/.386, so would work as the strong part of a platoon with Valencia if his glove is remotely adequate. Colon and Paredes might also get a look.

          • Geogman

            Seitzer always thought Escobar could be a 270 hitter and with his defense at short that is more than adequate. And Escobar had to earn his way to the big leagues(drafted in 2003), wasn’t given a $5 million signing bonus, so was open to adjustments after realizing that swinging at the fences for Ned wasn’t going to cut it. As for Giavotella, why not give him 100 at bats to see what he can do instead of trotting Moustakas out there. The Royals drafted him 49th overall in 2008.

          • cardsfanatik

            Because Gio, even though he hasn’t gotten what some call a “fair” shot, hasn’t done anything to show that he can get it done at this level either. I would rather them leave Valencia at 3rd, than Gio. About the same defense, but much more power from Danny V. Gio is not the answer. But neither is Moustakas right now.

          • jimfetterolf

            Valencia is playing tonight against a rightie. If he can even hit .250 against righties he can be the answer. Unfortunately, Gio hits righties better than Valencia. But I think everyone is hoping Pedro can at least better that. We’ll have to see.

          • jimfetterolf

            But Moose does lead the team in homers.

  • cardsfanatik

    Someone please write an article about why in the hell every other team in the League can MASH at the K, but the Royal’s suck? I’m tired of the excuses, and the blaming the ballpark. Its complete bullshit, and old news. “The Royal’s aren’t built for power” a quote I have heard to many times. Well, frankly, the Royal’s aren’t built to do shit. And they sure as hell aren’t built for October baseball :/

    • Dave Hill

      Give me a couple of days on this. The thought crossed my mind independently tonight, and I’ll probably work on something for Thursday about this topic.

      • jimfetterolf

        Look at swing plane and approach. Staying back and a flat to down swing doesn’t get loft. If someone gets to the park early and watches fielding practice they’ll see the coaches change their swings on fungoes to get a fly ball or grounder. Royals are builty for a big park, so use a different swing than other teams might.

        • Dave Hill

          That is an excellent point. The Royals do seem to swing a bit differently, just based on the eyeball test.

        • cardsfanatik

          So why not try to swing for loft? Do they think a flyball out is more of an out than this weak ass ground ball crap. And it should be different for each hitter. Dyson for instance should hit the ball on the ground. But if they are preaching level to down swing to Butler, Hosmer, Salvy……well they need shot, then hung from the nearest tree. Still no excuse for having a whole team that doesn’t have even warning track power. This team cant hit it out of any park, not just the K.

          • jimfetterolf

            Jeff Francoeur, Mike Jacobs, Jose Guillen, Kevin McReynolds, Mike Moustaks, Kila.

            Beyond trajectory is waiting too long, the delayed swing generates less batr speed along with a downward plane. But it is more likely to make contact as it is made later in the pitch when the slips and slides and dives are more apparent. Seitzer is the one who taught the down swing to get back spin. Hit it like chopping wood. Maybe that’s why Yost fired him? Much kinder than shooting him.

            For what it is worth, George Brett, who was about Roger Maris’ size, topped at 30 homers.

    • Larry Devore

      except kick the cards keister in world series play

      • cardsfanatik

        What in 1985? And like I care. I was rooting Royals that series. But since you bring it up, could you please count the pennants and division championships for me? Lol. I didn’t think so. Im not the Cardinal hater most of you are. I love both MO teams. Didn’t know there was a rule against it. But poke all you want, the Cardinals are TWICE the organization that the Royals are.

  • cardsfanatik

    HR’s JUST THIS SERIES. ChiSox 5, Punchin-Judy’s ZERO, thats (0) in layman’s terms