Yes, the Royals reassigned a SS to minor league camp yesterday. The bad news is that it was the wrong SS. It was Luis Hernandez and not Tony Pena Jr. who was reassigned. That is not to say that Hernandez should make the ML roster, because he shouldn’t.
Luis Hernandez (24) signed as a minor league free agent with the Royals this offseason. In 148 ML at bats with the Baltimore Orioles, Hernandez has hit .264/.297/.304. In 39 at bats this spring, he hit .231/.231/.286 to have a respectable showing.
Hernandez’s stat line is significantly better than the immortal Tony Pena Jr. who in 778 ML at bats has a line of .237/.255/.312. Luis highlights the fallacy of the Royals clinging to TPJ. Any offseason, any team can go out and sign a better SS than Tony Pena Jr. to come in and get some at bats and possibly compete for a backup job on the major league roster. TPJ has proven he does not deserve to be on a major league roster, but there are dozens of guys out there that have never even been given the chance to prove that same thing. If it were not for TPJ sucking at a borderline historic rate, they themselves would have never given Mike Aviles the chance to prove whether or not he belongs in the major leagues. But Tony Pena Jr. was beyond awful in 2008 and because of that the Royals blindly stumbled onto one of their best offensive players. Aviles rewarded their dumb luck by producing the greatest season by any SS in Royals history.
I don’t know what it will take to get rid of Tony Pena Jr. but the simple fact is that he is a below average hitter and a below average fielder. When TPJ finally gets released, I may have to go out and celebrate with a few friends and a few adult beverages.