Manny Pina Among Royals Minor League Free Agents


When the Royals moved to get the 40 man roster down to that number, they outrighted catcher Manny Pina to Triple A to clear a spot for Brett Hayes. Turns out, he’s also a minor league free agent. Bob Dutton noted that, while he can still sign a deal with the Royals, he’d also be eligible for the Rule 5 draft next month unless he was re-added to the 40 man roster.

August 03, 2011; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals catcher Manuel Pina (28) is congratulated by teammates after scoring in the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

It’s an odd move, and one that seems like a mistake – though a small one. Pina has generally been considered a good defensive catcher and, at 25, still has some room to grow. Perhaps there wouldn’t be much upside beyond what Adam Moore, Brayan Pena or Hayes would provide, but you’d have to think there’d be a bit more of a ceiling than the others. It’s not a big loss if he signs elsewhere, but the little things add up. I’d say there’s a reasonable chance Pina would be selected in the Rule 5 draft and stashed as a backup to a durable regular (which is what he’ll probably end up doing most of his days in the big leagues anyway).

Regardless of what happens to Pina, other Royals minor leaguers are free to sign elsewhere. Kevin Kouzmanoff already has. After spending part of last year in Omaha and Northwest Arkansas, he’s signed a minor league deal with the Marlins.

UPDATE: On Wednesday, the Royals and Pina agreed to a minor league deal, though he’s still eligible for the Rule 5 draft.

Others: pitchers Doug Davis (who almost got a look in the rotation in the middle of 2012), Thomas Melgarejo, Edgar Osuna, catcher Cody Clark, infielders Mario Lisson, Kurt Mertins, Johan Santa, Lewis Urena and outfielder Aaron Guiel (who was technically on a player contract but his role was one of a coach).

Lisson is the most intriguing name of that group, but he’ll be turning 29 next year and hasn’t ever been very close to the majors. He has some pop in his bat and has played multiple positions. Melgarejo, 25, had a good showing in Wilmington as a LOOGY with a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings (and 31 appearances).

Another note: Jeremy Jeffress was one of the players designated for assignment to get the roster down to 40. According to his agent, he’s being shopped by the Royals before they place him on waivers.

With his live arm and a wicked curveball, he could be a big target for many teams to take a chance on. He’s never gotten his control in order, and the Royals shuffled him up and down in 2012. If he does manage to get some command, he’d be a strong weapon in the back of a bullpen. Of course, he’s one of four players the Royals received for Zack Greinke two offseasons ago.