A former SF Giants minor leaguer, catcher Francisco Peña, is on the move after signing a minor-league pact with the crosstown rival Oakland Athletics.
Journeyman catcher Francisco Peña appeared briefly with the SF Giants Triple-A affiliate in 2019 and has served as catching depth for countless other organizations. In 2021, he will hope to crack the Oakland Athletics roster after signing a minor-league contract with the club, according to a report by Bobby Nightengale of the Enquirer.
Back in 2019, the Giants were very thin on catching depth behind starter Buster Posey. San Francisco briefly had Erik Kratz while Stephen Vogt was still recovering from offseason surgery. Still, aside from that, Aramis Garcia was the only catcher with much of a track record in the team’s upper minors.
At that point, the Giants swung a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals to acquire Peña for cash considerations. Peña did have major league experience before the trade. He appeared in parts of five seasons with the Kansas City Royals, Baltimore Orioles, and Cardinals, where he slashed a .216/.249/.311 line (52 OPS+) with five home runs and 13 RBI across 202 plate appearances.
With the Giants Triple-A affiliate, the right-handed bat registered a .287/.319/.543 line with 16 home runs and 46 RBI. He played an important role on a Sacramento River Cats team that won the Pacific Coast League championship in 2019. This included a clutch performance down the stretch:
The 31-year-old latched on with the Cincinnati Reds organization in 2020 but did not appear with the big club. Now, he will be looking to try and crack the A’s roster. Currently, Sean Murphy, Austin Allen, and Jonah Heim are the only catchers on Oakland’s 40-man roster.
Murphy is firmly entrenched as the Oakland Athletics catcher of the future, but neither Allen nor Heim have solidified their role as the backup catcher. If former SF Giants minor leaguer Francisco Peña is going to make the A’s roster, he will need to outperform both Allen and Heim for the job.