The Royals reached out to a legacy Sunday morning by signing catcher Francisco Pena, the son of former manager Tony Pena and brother of former shortstop Tony Pena Jr., to a major-league contract and adding him to their 40-man roster.
Francisco Pena, 24, spent the last seven seasons in the New York Mets’ organization. He batted .254 with nine homers and 43 RBIs last season while splitting 89 games at Class AA Binghamton (21 games) and Class AAA Las Vegas (68 games).
The Mets signed Pena as a international free agent in 2007. He has 40 homers and 243 RBIs with a slash of .236/.286/.348 for batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in 593 career minor-league games.
Adding Pena to the 40-man roster leaves the Royals with one vacancy in advance of the 11 p.m. deadline Wednesday for all clubs to set rosters in advance of next month’s Rule 5 Draft.
Tony Pena became the Royals’ manager on May 15, 2002 and was picked as the American League’s manager of the year in 2003 after guiding the club to an 83-79 record that marked the the club’s only winning season between 1995-2012.
Pena resigned after a May 10, 2005 loss dropped the Royals to 8-25. He now is bench coach for the New York Yankees.
The Royals acquired Tony Pena Jr. from Atlanta in a March 23, 2007 trade for minor-league pitcher Erik Cordier.
Pena batted .228 in 327 games for the Royals from 2007-09 but became a pitcher after his production plummeted in 2009. He compiled a 3.87 ERA last season in 33 games at Class AAA Charlotte in the Chicago White Sox’s organization.