Cardinals re-sign backup catcher Jason LaRue

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Jason LaRue and the Cardinals have agreed to a one-year deal that will keep him backing up Yadier Molina in 2010.
Molina is one of the best, most durable catchers in baseball, so barring a major injury LaRue’s role will again be extremely limited. He appeared in just 51 games this season, logging a grand total 112 plate appearances and 254 innings, and worked just slightly more in 2008.
LaRue is 35 years old and hasn’t cracked a .700 OPS since 2005, batting just .194/.286/.323 during that time, so he’s among the worst hitters in baseball. But so are most backup catchers.
His strong arm behind the plate is an asset, but most of all the Cardinals apparently just like having him (and his tremendous facial hair) around and know that if Molina were to be sidelined for a significant chunk of time they’d probably swing a trade or turn to prospect Bryan Anderson anyway.

Brayan Peña announces retirement

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Catcher Brayan Peña announced his retirement on Monday evening via his Twitter account:

Peña, 36, signed a minor league contract with the Tigers in January but the club ended up going with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia for their Triple-A roster.

Peña spent parts of 12 seasons in the majors with the Braves, Royals, Tigers, Reds, and Cardinals from 2005-16. He hit .259/.299/.351 in 1,950 plate appearances.

With his playing days behind him, Peña will transition into coaching. He will manage one of the Tigers’ Gulf Coast League teams, George Sipple of the Free Press reports.