Royals sign catcher Francisco Pena

Leave a comment

As first reported by Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the Royals have signed 24-year-old catcher Francisco Pena to a minor league contract.

The Mets signed Pena out of the Dominican Republic when he was 16 years old for a hefty bonus of $750,000. The son of former major league All-Star Tony Pena, he never quite excelled in the Mets’ minor league system and was passed over again during this year’s round of September call-ups.

Pena is a .236/.286/.348 career hitter on the farm.

He will serve as organizational catching depth for Kansas City.

Astros release Jon Singleton

Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Astros have released first baseman Jon Singleton, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Singleton, 26, was suspended for 100 games after testing positive for a drug of abuse for a third time. He has had issues with marijuana in the post and admitted to being a drug addict several years ago. He said, “At this point it’s pretty evident to me that I’m a drug addict. I don’t openly tell everyone that, but it’s pretty apparent to myself. I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high and I can’t block that out of my mind that I enjoy that. So I have to work against that.”

Singleton played parts of two seasons in the majors in 2014-15 with the Astros, batting a combined .171/.290/.331 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI in — appropriately — 420 plate appearances. He spent 2016 with Triple-A Fresno and 2017 with Double-A Corpus Christi, putting up middling numbers.

If he can convince teams he’s still actively working to overcome his addiction, Singleton may be able to find an opportunity elsewhere. But his road back to the majors remains long. He was once a top prospect in the Phillies’ system, then was traded to the Astros in the Hunter Pence deal back in July 2011.