Tigers come to terms with veteran free agent backup catcher Brayan Pena, who is expected to backup Alex Avila in 2013.
Why sign Pena? The Tigers must feel more comfortable with a veteran presence backing up Avila than Holaday, who is still considered a rookie with his six games of major league experience.
Via Tigers PR, Dave Dombrowski had this to say about the Pena signing:
"We are pleased to add an experienced catcher like Brayan Pena to our club," Tigers President, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager David Dombrowski said. "As a switch-hitter, he will serve as a solid complement to Alex Avila as our back-up catcher for the 2013 season."
Pena is a 30 year old switch-hitter, his eight MLB seasons evenly split between the Braves and Royals. Considered competent behind the plate, Pena's bat is nothing to speak of, having hit .248/.286/.350 in 884 career at bats. In 2012 Pena hit ..236 with 2 home runs and 25 RBI, posting a brutal .262 OBP. Pena was designated for assignment by the Royals after the season.
In a related move to make room on the 40 man roster, left-handed reliever Matt Hoffman was designated for assignment. Hoffman was drafted by the Tigers in 2007 and has spent the past two seasons at Triple A Toledo. He appeared in 43 games with the Mud Hens in 2012, posting a 1-2 record and 3.69 ERA in 46 1/3 innings.