The catcher position in free agency just got even thinner than it already was as the Cardinals signed former Reds catcher Brayan Pena to a 2-year/$5 million deal on Monday. Pena was the 4th ranked catcher in my rankings this offseason and the Cardinals have been looking for a better backup catcher to Yadier Molina so this is a perfect fit for Pena. He won’t provide much offensively as he hit no home runs for Cincinnati last season. However, he is a very good defensive catcher as he had a .999 fielding percentage in 86 games for the Reds last season. Pena will provide some stability as a defensive replacement or if Molina needs a day off. However, Pena isn’t the type of player that can replace Molina for an extended period of time if he gets injured because Pena lacks offensive skills. St. Louis probably should have just signed Pena to a 1-year deal instead of a multi-year deal because Pena is getting older and it is a concern as to whether he can provide consistent play to the Cardinals. I don’t particularly like this deal for St. Louis, but there isn’t much better options on the free agent market at catcher.
Grade: D+ – Pena’s offensive abilities are very limited to say the least, so the only thing that he provides is defense. Also, I would have rather seen the team give him a 1-year deal. Pena might provide an upgrade over Tony Cruz as the Cardinals backup catcher, but don’t expect Pena to make an impact for the Cardinals especially offensively.