As the baseball season slowly winds it’s way to the trade deadline, the Royals are expected to be looking at making a few moves. Right field certainly appears to be a position of need, and the Royals could possibly use help in the bullpen. However, aside from the obvious areas that the Royals could stand to improve upon, Dayton Moore could also look to upgrade his bench.
One potential area that the Royals could look to improve in would be at backup catcher. Salvador Perez plays virtually every day, so it is not as though the backup plays much in the first place. Yet, there are times when it seems like an APB needs to be put out on the present backup catcher Brett Hayes. At the same time, it is not as though Hayes has done much in his limited chances to warrant being in the lineup more often, as he has produced a .103/.125/.179 batting line, with an OPS+ of…. -17.
The Royals search for a backup catcher may not need to be very long. Sitting in Omaha is Francisco Pena, who had a brief one game cameo when Perez had his bell rung earlier in the season. This season with the Storm Chasers, the 24 year old has produced a .244/.298/.513 batting line with 15 home runs. Even though Pena has only walked 13 times in 219 plate appearances, that is still better than the one that Hayes has gotten this year.
Another area where Pena has an advantage over Hayes is in potential. We know what Brett Hayes is at this point – a AAA catcher who really does not provide much value either at the plate or behind it. Pena, meanwhile, has displayed a strong arm behind the plate, throwing out 31% of base stealers over his minor league career. He also has solid power potential, as those 15 home runs and his impending appearance in the AAA Home Run Derby can attest.
Even though Francisco Pena may not see much time playing behind Salvador Perez, he could provide a lot more than what Brett Hayes has to offer. Of course, providing even halfway decent production would be a vast improvement over what the Royals currently have backing up Perez. If nothing else, at least Pena is an unknown quantity and has the potential for upside.
Salvador Perez is going to need to get some days off at some point over the next few months. With Francisco Pena, there is the chance they could get some actual production from their backup.